<![CDATA[NBC New York - Local News - Clear the Shelters]]>Copyright 2019http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/localen-usThu, 22 Aug 2019 07:37:43 -0400Thu, 22 Aug 2019 07:37:43 -0400NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Top Stories]]>Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:19:11 -0400]]><![CDATA[The Dodo]]>Wed, 14 Aug 2019 13:30:25 -0400]]><![CDATA[Videos]]>Thu, 07 Jun 2018 18:48:24 -0400]]><![CDATA[Before You Adopt]]>Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:19:11 -0400]]><![CDATA[Amazing Animal Stories]]>Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:19:11 -0400]]><![CDATA[After You Adopt]]>Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:19:11 -0400]]><![CDATA[Full Archive]]>Fri, 10 Aug 2018 12:15:32 -0400]]><![CDATA[Second Chances]]>Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:19:11 -0400]]><![CDATA[5th Annual Clear the Shelters Drive Sets Tri-State Record]]>Sun, 18 Aug 2019 09:56:49 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Clear+the+Shelters+Melissa+Russo+Adoption.jpg

The fifth annual Clear the Shelters drive set a new record for the tri-state area, with more than 12,000 adoptions recorded across the region for the first time ever. 

Saturday's event wrapped up with 12,073 pet adoptions across the tri-state — a 22 percent increase from last year, and more than 10 times the number of adoptions recorded five years ago. 

More than 2,000 shelters and rescue organizations across the country participated in the adoption drive, which is sponsored by NBC and Telemundo stations. 

This year, 134 shelters and rescue organizations joined the tri-state campaign, rising from 42 participants in the inaugural 2015 tri-state campaign. 

To encourage families to find a new pet, many of the participating animal shelters and rescue organizations reduced or waived adoption fees.

King, a 5-year-old pit mix, was surrendered by its owner last month and arrived at the NYC Animal Control Center on July 24. But, "the biggest wiggler in the shelter" shimmied his way into the heart of a new pet parent on Saturday. King received a royal goodbye as he left the Brooklyn shelter. 

Although dogs and cats were by far the most common pets to be adopted, even some feathery animals were rescued on Saturday. Bob, a 4 1/2-month-old White Crested Black Polish rooster was adopted from the Stongington-Animal Rescue Project in Connecticut. "Bob the Rooster," as he's called, is headed to Covernty, Rhode Island, where he will join seven hens in his new home. 

The need remains great. The number of animals entering shelters each year is about 6.5 million, 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Though the number has declined from about 7.2 million in 2011, with the biggest drop in the number dogs, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year.

On the happier side, about 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted annually and another 710,000 are returned to their owners.

Clear the Shelters began in North Texas in 2014 as a partnership among the NBC and Telemundo stations in Dallas-Fort Worth and dozens of North Texas animal shelters. More than 2,200 homeless animals were adopted that first year, the most in a single day in North Texas.

A year later that number jumped to nearly 20,000 as the adoption drive went national, with more than 400 shelters taking part across the country. Last year, as the event was extended over a month, more than 100,000 pets were adopted from over 1,200 shelters.

During Clear The Shelters 2018, pets of all types found their forever home, including "Bailey" a long-haired Chihuahua-mix puppy from Orange County, California, who was adopted by a veteran and his family. In New Hampshire, "Baby," a 15-year old senior cat was adopted after being a hospice resident at a Massachusetts shelter.

One year later, Baby is off her medications and showers her new family with unconditional love. In Texas, a yellow Labrador named "Pepperjack" who found wandering the streets of Texas City, spent weeks at the Galveston County animal shelter before a Sante Fe family adopted him during Clear the Shelters. One year later, the once stray who was renamed "Jake," is living his best life enjoying the great outdoors of the family's lake property and helping his new parents take care of their horses.

"The love that these dogs give you is worth it," Bailey's owner Don Winderman said. "All they need is love. And really, if people gave out more love than hate this country would be a lot better — and the whole world would be better."

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Why Adopting a Pet Saves 2 Animals: Clear the Shelters]]>Sat, 17 Aug 2019 00:34:24 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Why_Adopting_a_Pet_Saves_2_Animals__Clear_the_Shelters.jpg

Ahead of the Clear the Shelters event Saturday, North Shore Animal League America kennel manager Rachael Rudman tells Lauren Scala why adopting one saves two.]]>
<![CDATA[Breaking Down the Pet Adoption Process]]>Fri, 16 Aug 2019 08:51:45 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Screen+Shot+2019-08-15+at+3.44.42+PM.png

Thinking about pet adoption but feeling unsure or overwhelmed? The ASPCA's Kelly DiCicco breaks down the process of adopting and acclimating your new pet to your home. ]]>
<![CDATA[NBC 4 Talent Celebrate Their Pets Ahead of #CleartheShelters]]>Fri, 16 Aug 2019 09:28:30 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cts+cover+for+jessy.png]]><![CDATA[Final 2 Dogs Saved From NJ Nightmare Going to New Homes]]>Thu, 15 Aug 2019 13:32:02 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/adopted+dog+resized.jpg

While all these dogs seemed to be doomed while living in wretched conditions just two months ago, it seems all the canines saved are getting a happy ending.

In June, nearly 200 dogs were rescued from a nightmare hoarding situation in New Jersey — some pregnant, many sick and most having had only limited human contact.

Now, the final two Parson Russell terriers still in shelters will be going to new homes this weekend.

The dogs have been in the care of St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center since they were taken from the squalid home in Hunterdon County that was overrun with dogs after a breeder couldn't take care of them anymore.

The first people who adopted a dog from the failed breeder's home said their dog, Cooper, had no idea what a toy or even grass was when they brought him home for the first time. Now he is living life to the fullest with the couple's other rescue dog Frankie, who was adopted from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

That same couple started a Facebook page called "The 188" — after all the dogs that were found — so that all the people who adopted pups from the hoarding situation could keep track of each other.

Two people were arrested and charged in June after authorities discovered the  hoarding situation, officials said.

Martin Strozeski, 66, and Marcia Knoster, 70, each face multiple counts of failing to provide necessary care for the animals, where authorities discovered 20 dead dogs in a freezer and nearly 200 more living in squalid conditions at the home and garage, according to the county prosecutor and state police.

Strozeski said the kennel had fallen on hard times and that he and his business partner "couldn't give (the dogs) away," calling the kennel "a hobby turned bad."

None of the dogs had life-threatening conditions or had to be taken to emergency animal hospitals, but it appeared they had been kept in cages, said Nora Parker, spokeswoman for the St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center. She said some had skin or fur conditions that needed immediate treatment.

"This was obviously a breeder at one time," Parker said after the dogs were saved. "Things were obviously out of control here. We don't know what was going on behind the scenes. Until they finish investigating, we just don't know what went wrong.”

<![CDATA[Boy Saves Cat in Box Thrown Off CT Bridge Into Water]]>Wed, 14 Aug 2019 23:59:29 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cat+thrown+resized.jpg

A boy helped save a cat's life after he saw a man throw a box from a bridge into water, according to a local animal shelter.

The 10-year-old boy flagged down a police officer after witnessing a man toss a box from a bridge in Bridgeport, landing in the Pequonnock River, the Bridgeport Animal Control shelter said in a Facebook post Wednesday.

The young boy then heard meowing coming from the box, which was taped up and tied in a garbage bag, the group said. He ran up to the water's edge to retrieve the box, and rescued the male cat inside.

Bridgeport Animal Control did not have any further information regarding the incident, but pictures posted showed the cat seemingly unharmed.

If you have any information about what happened or if you know who may own the cat, Bridgeport Animal Control asks you call to them at 203-576-7727.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Animal Control]]>
<![CDATA[Deaf Dog Pinky Needs a New Home]]>Mon, 12 Aug 2019 23:08:45 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Deaf_Dog_Pinky_Needs_a_New_Home.jpg

Today we visited some of the animal shelters participating in our annual Clear the Shelters event this Saturday.]]>
<![CDATA[Leasing Dogs and Cats is Prohibited Under New Law in NJ]]>Fri, 09 Aug 2019 17:00:38 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/animal-cat-cute-46024+resized.jpg

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a bill that bars pet dealers from leasing dogs and cats.

The first-term Democrat signed the measure on Friday and called the leasing of pets "predatory."

The bill's sponsors say the measure was necessary because some pet dealers will enter into lease agreements to make high-priced pets seem more affordable to consumers.

Democratic Assemblyman John Armato says that's not the case and that lease deals result in consumers paying pay more over time than the retail price of the pet.

On top of that, he says, the person might not fully own the dog or cat.

Photo Credit: Pexels/CC]]>
<![CDATA[Soaking Wet St. Bernard Rescued From New Jersey Pool]]>Thu, 08 Aug 2019 06:06:50 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/rescuedstbernard.jpg

Was the St. Bernard rescued from a pool in New Jersey lost or did she just want to go for a swim?

Franklin Township police received a call on Wednesday about the dog from a homeowner who said there was a pup in their pool on Appleman Road. The wet dog was chest-deep in the pool's water when officers arrived.

"St. Bernard’s are known as rescue dogs," police said in their Facebook post, but the female dog was the one who needed rescuing this time. 

Rescuers said have no idea how it got there and the canine's microchip had no information registered on it.

Police asked anyone with information about the dog's owner to contact the shelter.

Hundreds of shelters across the country are teaming up with NBC Owned Television Stations and Telemundo for Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption drive on Saturday, August 17, 2019 that helps find loving homes for animals in need.

<![CDATA[Dog Left Tied to Tree Off I84 in Hudson River Valley: Police]]>Sun, 28 Jul 2019 16:30:59 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dog+east+fishkill.jpg

A neglected dog was found tied to a tree in the woods off of Interstate 84 in the Hudson River Valley, state troopers said Sunday.

The dog was barking when a Departement of Transportation crew was getting to mow near mile marker 50 in the town of East Fishkill on Wednesday, state police said.

The young dog, which showed signs of neglect, was found tied to a tree, troopers said.

The dog was rescued and put in the care of the Dutchess County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Investigators are trying to find out who abandoned the dog and what happened to it. Anyone with information is asked to call (845) 677-7300.

Photo Credit: New York State Police]]>
<![CDATA[Looking to Declaw Your Cat? Don’t Look in New York Anymore ]]>Mon, 22 Jul 2019 14:25:44 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-505058138+resized.jpg

New York became the first U.S. state to ban the declawing of cats Monday, joining most of Europe, several Canadian provinces and a growing list of American cities that already prohibit a procedure animal advocates call cruel and unnecessary.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed the New York ban. Supporters of the new law, which took effect immediately, predict it will lead to similar proposals across the country.

"This is a real triumph for cats and the people who love them," said Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, who pushed for years and who yielded to temptation when it came feline-themed puns on Monday. "This has catapulted New York to a leadership position when it comes to cruelty against felines."

Declawing a cat involves slicing through bone to amputate the first segment of a cat's toes. The operation was once commonly performed to protect furniture and human skin from feline scratching but has in recent years come under scrutiny by animal welfare advocates, cat owners and many vets.

While many vets urged lawmakers to pass the ban, the state's largest veterinary organization opposed the bill. The New York State Veterinary Medical Society argued that declawing should be allowed as a last resort for felines that won't stop scratching furniture or humans - or when the cat's owner has a weakened immune system, putting them at greater risk of infection from a scratch.

"Medical decisions should be left to the sound discretion of fully trained, licensed and state supervised professionals," the society said in a memo opposing the legislation.

Declawing a cat is already illegal in much of Europe and Canada, as well as in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver, but no other U.S. state has voted to ban the procedure, which involves amputating a cat's toes back to the first knuckle.

According to The Paw Project, a California-based group that supports bans on declawing, bills to prohibit the procedure are pending in several states, including New Jersey, California and Massachusetts, where lawmakers held a hearing on the measure Monday.

Supporters of bans cite estimates that a quarter or more of all domestic cats in the U.S. have had the procedure.

"For a cat, declawing is both psychologically and physically harmful," said Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies, a Bethesda, Maryland-based organization. "The surgery is traumatic, and the resulting disfigurement causes severe pain."

Under the bill, which easily passed the Democrat-led Senate and Assembly in early June, veterinarians could still perform the procedure for medical reasons, such as infection or injury.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Lightning Causes $30K of Damage to Long Island Animal Shelter]]>Sat, 20 Jul 2019 17:07:44 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/little-shelter-combo.png

Lightning struck the grounds of a Long Island, New York animal shelter, shattering a memorial fountain and shooting the shards across the facility, causing $30,000 of damage, the shelter said Saturday. 

Little Shelter said its industrial air conditioning unit was destroyed, along with a phone system control panel and the central alarm station were destroyed. 

No animals were hurt. 

A thunderstorm on Wednesday night was part of the aftermath of Tropical Storm Barry. A lightning bolt struck a tree at the Huntington shelter at about 10 p.m., then traveled to the fountain, the shelter said. 

The fountain shattered and pieces of it were strewn across the grounds, with one even flying over the cat building, the shelter said. 

Photo Credit: Little Shelter ]]>
<![CDATA[Wee Pups to (Nearly) Take Wing at the Wiener Nationals]]>Thu, 18 Jul 2019 16:14:03 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/wienernationalslosalamitos1.jpg

What sort of sound or catchphrase or verbal indicator might a Dachshund employ when she is ready to run very, very fast?

"Meep, meep" is already taken, of course. "I'm outta here" conveys the spirit of a Dachshund on the move, but that is something a human might say, not a pup who speaks in bark-ese.

Hmm. This is ruff, er, rough.

We'll just assume that the sweet but fleet Fidos that compete in Wienerschnitzel's famous Wiener Nationals have one thing on their minds: Reaching the end of 50 yards in an impressively quick amount of time.

And plenty of Dachshunds will do just that, on Saturday, July 20 at Los Alamitos Race Course in Cypress, California.

This summertime tradition is very much about doting on Doxies, and meeting other humans who love these hounds, but there's something even stronger at its strong heart: Raising money for the Seal Beach Animal Care Center, which assists in "...finding home for stray animals in the Orange County area."

Lots of people show with their pooches, hoping they can run, but there are rules to know.

Like? A toy or treat may be employed to "entice" your pumpkin to run, but there is no jogging alongside (two people are permitted with each canine participant, one at the starting gate and one waiting at the finish).

Everything to know? Woof woof: It's right here. There's a release waiver, too.

The cost to enter and cheer on these lil' Lassies and Laddies? It's three bucks, and young people 17 and under will be admitted for free.

Los Alamitos calls the Wiener Nationals the venue's "most popular event" of the year, and over 8,500 people attend, per the course.

So arriving early, whether you have a racing pup in tow or not? Smart move.

Dachshunds are famously smart, after all, and if they could talk, they'd certainly advise anyone to head for the Cypress destination well ahead of the first race of the evening, which begins at 6:30 p.m. (gates open at 4:30 p.m.).

Nope, Dachshunds can't fly, but watching all four of their wee feetsies leave the ground at once, as they attempt to reach the finish line first, can make you feel as though you're heart is in flight.

Yes, we said "wee feetsies." Nope, we're not taking it back.

Photo Credit: Wiener Nationals]]>
<![CDATA[Tri-State Animal Shelters Overrun With Pets Need Your Help]]>Thu, 25 Jul 2019 15:50:40 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Clear_the_Shelters_with_New_York_Bully_Crew.jpg

There is a housing crisis for four-legged, furry New Yorkers, and animal shelters across the tri-state area are running out of room.

Animal Care Centers of NYC are so overcrowded with strays -- about 100 more than max capacity -- that they have resorted to squeezing pop-up crates under office desks and along hallways for the first time in four years.

NBC and Telemundo stations across the country will team up with shelters nationwide on Aug. 17 for the fifth annual Clear the Shelters animal adoption drive. For more information, click here

ACC’s Katy Hansen said the limited amount of space for dogs, cats and rabbits leads to the increased transmission of diseases and infections amongst occupants. It also stresses out the animals and staff alike.

“We have doubled the amount of animals, but still have the same amount of employees,” Hansen said. “It’s just a bad combination.”

The non-profit, which has been taking in 75 to 100 animals per day, issued a plea over social media last Friday, begging locals to adopt or foster some of the 633 animals being housed. If not, more animals would be at risk of getting put down.

Over the weekend, animal lovers heard the call to action and helped the organization set a new record for adoptions -- 134 permanent homes in two days. Fifty-four more animals were picked up by ACC partner New Hope and 43 animals were placed in foster care.

Hansen was moved by the amount of people who fostered large breed dogs, which are the hardest animals to place due to the City’s breed restrictions and the sheer size of the animals relative to average-sized apartments.

“Having foster families step up and bring [large breed dogs] into their homes is really so life saving,” Hansen said. “It’s [animal] life affirming.”

While ACC experienced hoards of support from the community, including ESPN host Keith Oblermann, they still received 119 new strays over the weekend.

Despite the minor setback, Hansen said the way the community has come together over the past few days gives her hope for the future.

“There are really a lot of good people in this world and a lot of good people in New York,” Hansen said. “This is what it’s all about -- New Yorkers helping New Yorkers.”

<![CDATA[Yee-Haw! Cops Lasso Runaway Horse in NY Highway Median]]>Mon, 08 Jul 2019 11:57:43 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/IMG_7521+horse+Suffolk+County+resized.jpg

It was quite a wild sight for commuters Monday morning on the Sunrise Highway – a sight reminiscent of the wild, wild West as a rogue thoroughbred horse was found trotting along the median of busy traffic lanes.

Thankfully, a Suffolk County  deputy sheriff and a police officer managed to rescue the horse, which had escaped moments earlier from a Brookhaven farm.

Highway Patrol Officer Matthew Siesto responded to multiple 911 calls reporting a horse running on westbound on Sunrise Highway between exits 57 and 56 in Brookhaven shortly before 7:30 a.m., Suffolk police say.

The horse apparently escaped from Rockaby Farms in Brookhaven after a tree fell and damaged the horse’s pen.

Siesto was flagged down by the horse’s caretaker, Erin Easop, who got into the patrol vehicle, according to police.

Suffolk County Deputy Sheriff Patrice Silvestri was on the eastbound side median and was able to grab the horse shortly after 7:30 a.m., police say.

After having quite the adventurous morning,  Easop and Siesto walked the 30-year-old thoroughbred named Oppie back to the farm, police say.

Photo Credit: Suffolk County Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[Cops Locate Owner of Donkey Found Wandering NJ Street]]>Wed, 19 Jun 2019 10:08:51 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Holmdel+PD+Finds+Wandering+Donkey+NJ+Holmdel+PD+credit.jpg

Police in New Jersey say they located the owner of a donkey they found roaming the street at night.

Holmdel Township police found the animal walking down Holmdel Road near Arbor Lane around 1 a.m.

In a Facebook post Tuesday morning, the Holmdel Township Police Department issued a call for anyone who woke up and realized their "domesticated farm animal" to not be alarmed because it was in their care.

Police subsequently updated the post announcing the donkey's owner was located. 

Photo Credit: Holmdel Township Police Department
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA['A Bonded Pair': Blind Pooch and His Guide Dog Dad Search for a Forever Home]]>Thu, 06 Jun 2019 13:01:01 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/buddy+big+daddy2+dog+picture.jpg

Two-year-old Buddy has tons of curiosity to explore a world he cannot see.

The tan boxer mix is completely blind. He relies on his father, 4-year-old Big Daddy, for guidance.

"Every minute or two, he just wants to know where Big Daddy is, and he’ll bump into him or he’ll sniff for him and make sure that he’s still there,” said Sandy Hickman, a handler at the Associated Humane Society (AHS) Popcorn Park shelter of Lacey Township, New Jersey.

The father and son duo were flown to the Associated Humane Popcorn Park Shelter in a private plane piloted by Paul Steklenski, who works for the Flying Fur Animal Rescue, an aerial animal rescue group.

The blind dog and his father arrived in New Jersey June 1.

Despite their big smiles and wagging tails, the two spent more than a year in a small, overcrowded animal shelter in North Carolina waiting to be adopted.

"Being a pair, a bonded pair, it was harder for them to get adopted so we had the room to take them," handler Tiffany Zinky from the AHS shelter said.

Through networking, the North Carolina shelter was able to find AHS Popcorn Park, which agreed to shelter the dogs.

“They are both such sweet, well-behaved boys that love people of all ages and get along fine with other dogs too,” AHS said on its website. “They are now looking for a home where they can stay together forever and have a good family of their own to love and care for them."

For more information on how to adopt Buddy and Big Daddy, click here.

Photo Credit: Associated Humane Society/Popcorn Park Shelter]]>
<![CDATA[How to Help Your Pet Adjust to a New Baby]]>Sat, 18 May 2019 09:00:54 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/How_to_Help_Your_Pet_Adjust_to_a_New_Baby.jpg

Gus Rosendale speaks with Christine Hahn of Animal Care Centers of New York about how to help your pet adjust when a new baby arrives.]]>
<![CDATA[Spoil Your Fur Baby at NYC Pop-Up 'Dogville']]>Thu, 09 May 2019 11:02:18 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Dogville+pup+up.jpg

If your dog really is your best friend, a new pop-up will give you a chance to prove it, alongside others who believe four legs are better than two. 

Starting Friday, dog lovers will be able to give back to their furry friends by taking them to Dogville. The “pup-up,” located in Soho, is advertised as a unique, interactive play space for dogs and dog-lovers.

Dogville includes an indoor dog park, a destroyable living room, a food bar for pups and a puppy spa. 

In the Go Wild living room, dogs are invited to "go nuts" in a replica of your living room made from soft blocks. Need to chill out afterwards? At the PAWsitive Reinforcement Spa, owners are taught how to massage and relax their dogs ("think Enya and purified water that’s hinted with a gentle scent of beef"). 

Meanwhile, May 11 and 12 mark Dog Mom’s Weekend, where attendees will be celebrated with mimosas, dog-and-mom matching bandannas and professional photographers on site. 

One in 10 dogs now have a social media account, according to a Dogville survey, and on average, dog owners post about their dogs on social media six times per week. 

Dogville is kicking off Friday May 10 with a Red Carpet featuring some of New York's most Insta-famous dogs. It runs through June 2 and entry is $35

They say a dog is a man’s (or woman’s) best friend. Starting May 10th, dog lovers will be able to give back to their furry friends by taking them to Dogville. The “pup-up,” located in Soho, is a unique interactive play space for dogs and dog-lovers.

The space includes an indoor dog park, a “Go Wild” living room, a Yum Bar and a PAWsitive Reinforcement Puppy Spa. The Dogville pop-up will be open from May 10th to June 2nd, with hour-long sessions available each day, according to Secret NYC.

May 11th and 12th is Dog Mom’s Weekend, where attendees will be celebrated with mimosas, dog and mom matching bandanas, and professional photographers on site. May 18th will feature a Vet Nutritionist, where a Pet Plate’s Vet Nutritionist will give a talk and answer pet questions. The whole family is invited to come by on May 19th for Family Day to learn from dog behaviourists and vets about picking the right pooch for their family dynamic.

One in ten dogs now have a social media account, according to a Dogville survey, and on average, dog owners post about their dogs on social media six times per week. Dogville includes many instagrammable settings so guests can show the world how they spoil their fur babies.

Those who don’t own a dog are still able to participate in the fun. Dogville’s Puppy Pit will have adoptable rescue and therapy dogs for guests to cuddle and play with. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased through Secret NYC or the Dogville website.

<![CDATA[NY Golden Retriever Adopts Puppies Abandoned by Their Mom]]>Thu, 04 Apr 2019 12:45:14 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC_pupsadopted_1920x1080.jpg

A 3-year-old golden retriever from New York has adopted seven puppies after their mother wouldn't care for them. WGRZ's Karys Belger reports.]]>
<![CDATA[NYPD Cop Adopts Pup Heartlessly Thrown Out With NYC Trash]]>Fri, 22 Mar 2019 10:42:43 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/buck+dog.png

An NYPD officer has given a dog heartlessly thrown down a garbage chute in the Bronx a new leash on life.

The pup, named Buck, was discovered in the trash chute at Richman Plaza on a Saturday morning in December. A worker was cleaning out the compactor when he noticed the dog, alive, in the trash and called police, authorities said.

His ribs were sticking out when he was found and he appeared to be just a puppy. Fortunately, thanks to the rescue and treatment since, Buck is now doing well -- and has been adopted by a member of the NYPD, the department said. 

The NYPD tweeted a photo of a clearly content Buck resting drowsily on a couch in his new home, his paw stretched lazily over a blanket. 

Cops still haven't found the person or people who threw Buck out with the garbage, though. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Photo Credit: @NYPDPaws]]>
<![CDATA[What You Need to Know About Pet Insurance]]>Sat, 12 Jan 2019 10:17:14 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/What_You_Need_to_Know_About_Pet_Insurance.jpg

Gus Rosendale speaks with Christine Hahn of Animal Care Centers of New York about the benefits of pet insurance.]]>
<![CDATA[Anyone Want to Adopt a 28-Pound Cat? Doughnut Needs a Home]]>Tue, 30 Oct 2018 19:26:08 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/fatcatthumb.jpgAnyone want to adopt a 28-pound feline? A Florida animal shelter says it is looking for someone to take in Doughnut, "the biggest boii ever."

Photo Credit: Jacksonville Humane Society]]>
<![CDATA[How to Deal With Your Pet’s Separation Anxiety]]>Sat, 06 Oct 2018 08:30:26 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/How_to_Deal_With_Your_Pet_s_Separation_Anxiety.jpg

Gus Rosendale speaks with David Glicksman, of Animal Care Centers of New York, about the separation anxiety pets can experience.]]>
<![CDATA[Evacuating During an Emergency When You Have a Pet]]>Sat, 08 Sep 2018 11:30:27 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Evacuating_During_an_Emergency_When_You_Have_a_Pet.jpg

Nancy Notaro of Animal Care Centers of New York speaks with Gus Rosendale about what to do with your pet if you need to evacuate during an emergency.]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters Drive Gets 9K+ Tri-State Pets New Homes]]>https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cats-bobbi.png

More than 9,300 local pets were adopted during NBC 4 New York and Telemundo 47’s fourth annual Clear the Shelters™ pet adoption drive. Launched in July and culminating on “Clear the Shelters Day” Saturday, Aug. 18, the stations’ pet adoption effort included the participation of 118 local animal shelters and rescues.

Since 2015, over 16,000 pets from the Tri-State area have found new homes as part of the stations’ Clear the Shelters™ initiative. Nationally, more than 88,000 pets found new homes this month and over 240,000 pets have been adopted through NBC and Telemundo Owned Stations’ Clear the Shelters nationwide pet adoption campaign. 

“This was a record-breaking tri-state Clear the Shelters™ campaign. More adoptions were recorded at more tri-state shelters and rescues than ever before. Our WNBC team thanks everyone who adopted,” said Eric Lerner, President and General Manager of NBC 4 New York.

Since launching in 2015, NBC 4 New York and Telemundo 47’s Clear the Shelters™ program has quickly expanded throughout the tri-state region. Overall shelter and rescue participation has grown close to 200 percent from 2015, expanding from 42 participating locations to this year’s total of 118. Total adoptions increased nearly 900 percent during that time, rising from 1,048 in 2015 to 9,366 in 2018. 

"The growth of our Desocupar Los Albergues pet adoption drive is remarkable. Working together with our local shelters and rescues, this important community initiative helped thousands of local families experience the joy and happiness that comes from adopting a new pet,” said Cristina Schwarz, General Manager and President, Telemundo 47 New York. 

NBC’s Jane Lynch will host “Clear the Shelters,” a 30-minute post-adoption drive special that will air Friday, Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. on NBC 4 New York (check local listings). The show will recap the fourth annual pet adoption campaign. Telemundo 47 will also air a post-adoption drive special on Saturday, Aug. 25 at noon. The show will be co-hosted by Stephanie Himonidis “Chiquibaby” and Elva Saray, hosts of Telemundo 52 Los Angeles’ daily entertainment show, Acceso Total (check local listings).

For more information about local Clear the Shelters™ pet adoption stories, including photos, visit nbcnewyork.com/cleartheshelters or telemundo47.com/DesocuparlosAlbergues. To access stories and photos from other Clear the Shelters™ participating markets, visit CleartheShelters.com. You can also follow the effort on social media by using the hashtag #CleartheShelters. To access information in Spanish, please visit DesocuparlosAlbergues.com and follow #DesocuparlosAlbergues.

Clear the Shelters™ is an initiative spearheaded by NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, a division of NBCUniversal. Clear the Shelters™ is sponsored nationally by Cat’s Pride® and Hill’s Pet Nutrition.

Cat’s Pride® is committed to always improving its products, and the lives of cats and their people. As part of Cat’s Pride® Litter for Good program and expression of its long-time commitment to helping animal in need, every time a consumer buys a green jug of Fresh & Light litter, Cat’s Pride will donate a pound of litter to animal welfare organizations across America. To learn more, visit catspride.com.

Founded more than 75 years ago with an unwavering commitment to pet nutrition, the mission of Hill's Pet Nutrition is to help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets. Hill's is dedicated to pioneering research, groundbreaking nutrition for dogs and cats, and support to the veterinarian community, based on a scientific understanding of pets’ specific needs. Visit HillsPet.com to learn about Hill’s and its Food, Shelter & Love program, which has provided over $290 million in Hill’s pet foods to shelters, helping over 9 million pets find new homes since 2002.

About NBC 4 New York / WNBC

NBC 4 New York / WNBC is the flagship station of the NBC Owned Television Stations division of NBCUniversal, serving the New York Tri-State area with an unparalleled commitment to broadcast excellence for 75 years.

The station features New York’s largest investigative reporting team, the I-Team and includes Edward R. Murrow and Emmy Award-winning journalists who successfully track down the answers to the questions most important to viewers. Storm Team 4, the station’s trusted weather team, utilizes the most accurate and the most powerful weather technology available to keep Tri-State viewers informed and safe when severe weather strikes. This includes StormTracker 4, the only commercial high-frequency S-Band dual polarization fixed Doppler weather radar operating in the Northeast.

In addition to NBC 4 New York’s primary channel, other programming outlets include COZI TV, the station’s multicast channel, and out-of-home platforms, including TV screens in taxi cabs, elevators and aboard New York-New Jersey PATH trains. The station also delivers news and information across all platforms, including its dedicated website, mobile app and social media platforms. For more information about NBC 4 New York, visit NBCNewYork.com.

About Telemundo 47 New York / WNJU

Telemundo 47 / WNJU is the Telemundo television station serving Spanish-speaking viewers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for more than 50 years. The Tri-State’s Spanish-language broadcasting channel for soccer, Telemundo 47 will offer exclusive Spanish-language coverage of the 2019 Copa America, the 2019 and 2025 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ tournaments and the 2022 and 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup™ tournaments.

Delivering more than 27 hours of locally-produced news, information and entertainment programing each week, Telemundo 47 offers comprehensive breaking news coverage and features the New York market’s only team of bilingual meteorologists, La Autoridad en El Tiempo, who use cutting-edge technology to keep viewers and their families safe and informed. This includes Tele Doppler 47, con tecnología S band, the most powerful and most accurate weather technology available.

Telemundo 47’s local consumer investigative unit, Telemundo Responde, returns every telephone call, responds to every electronic inquiry and has recovered over $1.5 million for local viewers. The station also features Acceso Total, the region’s only local entertainment variety program with TeleXitos, the station’s multicast network, offering viewers many beloved, iconic television series in an easy-to-watch, comfortable Spanish-language format.

As a station, Telemundo 47 demonstrates its commitment to the communities it serves by cultivating local partnerships with organizations that reflect the diversity of the local market. Telemundo 47 also provides news and information across all platforms, online at Telemundo47.com, and via its dedicated mobile app and across social media.

<![CDATA[Thousands of Pets Find New Homes During Clear The Shelters]]>Thu, 21 Feb 2019 12:22:24 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SAMPLE+TIMELINE.00_00_36_21.Still003.jpg

Across the country thousands of animals are finding forever homes. Watch some of these lucky pets as they meet their new families for the very first time.]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Little Shelter]]>Sat, 18 Aug 2018 12:25:57 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Clear_the_Shelters_Little_Shelter.jpg

Lauren Scala visits Little Shelter Animal Rescue in Huntington to help Clear the Shelters.]]>
<![CDATA[Rescue Dogs in Puerto Rico Heading to Mainland]]>Thu, 16 Aug 2018 19:56:31 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Rescue_Dogs_in_Puerto_Rico_Heading_to_Mainland.jpg

News 4 New York and Telemundo-47 are looking to clear the shelters not just in our area but in Puerto Rico, where 150 rescue dogs are being brought over to the mainland. Gaby Acevedo reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Exotic Animals Looking for Homes Across the Region]]>Tue, 14 Aug 2018 18:30:54 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Exotic_Animals_Looking_for_Homes_Across_the_Region.jpg

It's not all cats and dogs looking for homes this weekend at Clear the Shelters. Stacey Bell reports on some exotic pets looking to find forever homes.]]>
<![CDATA[Live Cat Cam From NJ's Bergen County Animal Shelter]]>Sat, 18 Aug 2018 17:54:20 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cute+kitten.jpg

Saturday marks the fourth annual Clear the Shelters adoption drive, helping more than 150,000 pets in need find loving forever homes since 2015. Enjoy this cat cam, courtesy of Bergen County Animal Shelter & Adoption Center, above through the day Saturday. 

More than 100 local animal shelters and rescues are taking part in this year's event. Learn more about the annual drive and find out how you can help here. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Golden Retriever Helps Neglected Mini Rescue Horse]]>Tue, 14 Aug 2018 07:32:18 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/horse_dog_1280x720_1297910851848.jpg

Molly the 3-year-old golden retriever lives at an equine rescue in North Carolina where she particularly loves the miniature ponies because she can reach them easier. When Sammi the horse arrived at the rescue she was "skin and bones and scared." But with the help of Molly, who formed a special bond with him, the pony is healing and has turned into a "love bug." ]]>
<![CDATA[Cool Dogs: Air-Conditioned Pet Huts Placed at Travel Plazas]]>Thu, 09 Aug 2018 09:40:16 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-151389470.jpg

Pet owners traveling the New York State Thruway now have a cool option for their dogs when taking a break from driving: climate-controlled, temporary shelters.

A Brooklyn-based company called DogSpot has installed its dog houses at the entrances to 10 Thruway travel plazas.

Syracuse.com reports the little plastic huts have a window in front and they rent for 30 cents a minute. They're equipped with an interior "puppy cam" that allows pet owners to keep an eye on their pooch on their smartphone.

Each dog house has ultraviolet lights that kill viruses and bacteria between uses, and the air-conditioned huts are cleaned daily.

The three-year-old company is marketing its product for places that don't allow dogs, such as grocery stores, restaurants, libraries and roadside service centers.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Bruce Bennett]]>
<![CDATA[Warrant Issued After Caged Dog Is Left to Drown in NJ]]>Fri, 03 Aug 2018 23:49:49 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dog-diptych-0803.jpg

Authorities have identified a suspect after a caged pit bull puppy was left to drown at the edge of an intracoastal waterway in New Jersey. 

An arrest warrant has been issued for Aaron Davis, 36, of Long Branch, after a person walking their dog in Veterans Memorial Park in Highlands spotted the pup cowering in the cage on a portion of sand between a bulkhead and the water as the tide came in on Monday morning.

The person climbed over the wall to rescue the dog, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office said.

"If not for the heroic rescue act of the good Samaritan, the dog could have potentially drowned," the prosecutor's office said in a statement on Facebook.  

The gray and white pit bull, thought to be about a year old, was taken to the Highlands police station and has been renamed "River."

The woman who rescued him from the water is now hoping to adopt the pup. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

<![CDATA[Caged Dog Left to Drown at Water's Edge in NJ]]>Tue, 31 Jul 2018 18:54:55 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dog+rescue5.jpg

Authorities are trying to find the person who left a caged young pit bull to drown at the edge of the water at high tide in New Jersey. 

A person walking their dog in Veterans Memorial Park in Highlands spotted the small dog cowering in the cage on a portion of sand between a bulkhead and the water as the tide came in on Monday morning. The person climbed over the wall to rescue the dog, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office said.

"If not for the heroic rescue act of the good Samaritan, the dog could have potentially drowned," the prosecutor's office said in a statement on Facebook.  

Prosecutors estimate the dog was placed between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m., based on the tide schedule.

The gray and white pit bull, thought to be about a year old, was taken to the Highlands police station.

Anyone with information on the dog or its owner is asked to call the MCPO Animal Cruelty Hot Line 877-898-7297 or notify the Highlands Police Dept. at (732) 872-1224.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters Is Saturday! How to Find One Near You]]>https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/NY+CTS+MAP.png

NBC 4 New York and Telemundo are helping pets in need find loving homes Saturday with our fifth annual Clear the Shelters drive, a national effort that has seen hundreds of thousands of pets adopted over the last few years. 

More than 100 tri-state shelters and rescues are participating in this year's event. Refer to the interactive map above to find a participating one near you. 

On Aug. 17, all participating animal shelters and rescues will offer low cost or waived pet adoption fees to help families adopt a new pet. Local shelters and rescues interested in joining the adoption drive can learn about how they can register here. 

Across the country, over 100,000 pets were adopted during last year’s event, but millions more remain homeless. Every year, 6.5 million animals end up in shelters nationwide — and only 3.2 million are adopted, according to the ASPCA.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Find a Shelter Near You]]>https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dog-paws-ct2.png

Use the map to search for a shelter near you or search by zip code above. Learn more about the event here. 

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Madrid Police Dog 'Performs' CPR on Partner]]>Tue, 26 Jun 2018 10:28:49 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/20180626_cpr_dog_SOCIAL.gif

Poncho is ready to save a life! Madrid's municipal police department shared a video of K-9 Poncho "performing" CPR on his human partner as a way to promote adoption. ]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Emotional Adoption Tales From Across US]]>Fri, 25 Aug 2017 19:48:39 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Clear_the_Shelters_More_Than_1300_Animals_Adopted.jpg

This livestream is now over. For more Clear the Shelters stories, click here


Our half-hour special features emotional adoption stories from NBC's third annual "Clear the Shelters" event. Watch the livestream above to see how tens of thousands of animals in need found loving forever homes.

<![CDATA[Reporter, Boy, Cops Save Dog Darting Through NJ Street]]>Sat, 19 Aug 2017 11:33:49 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/IMG_3562.PNG

Editor's Note: Reporter Pat Battle was covering a story in Hackensack Friday when she encountered a small dog darting through the busy streets. With the help of a boy nearby, several police officers and some other people, the group corralled the stray dog — and became fast friends. This happened one day before NBC 4 and Telemundo 47's annual Clear the Shelters event. Read Pat's heartwarming story below. 


It takes a village to clear the shelters.

Case in point: After filing my story for our 5 p.m. newscast Friday, I spotted a little black dog running across the lawn in front of the Bergen County Courthouse in Hackensack.

The closest person to her was about 50 yards away — a young boy who I assumed the dog had gotten away from and who was trying to catch her. Not. Ethan was only trying to help a dog he assumed was in trouble.

The streets were fast filling up with cars as people exited the busy courthouse on a Friday afternoon. The dog ran into the road, oblivious as the traffic surrounded her.

The boy was calling her, I was calling her — she listened but didn't obey.

A Hackensack police officer stopped his car to help and joined in the effort to catch the dog. The dog came when I called but dashed away when I tried to grab her. Thus began a 30-minute chase that brought 10 strangers together to catch a dog that weighs less than 10 pounds.

Three police officers, three children and four adults — including this reporter — spent the next 30 to 40 minutes trying to coerce and corral this little dog to safety.

We finally cornered her in a parking lot across the street. Sgt. Anthony DiParisi called for backup. Fortunately, the responding officer was the department's renowned dog whisperer, officer Sean Briggs, and his partner Jessica DeJesus.

Now the little black Chihuaua mix was hiding under a dumpster, lured out inch by inch with morsels of turkey and chicken we got from sources who shall not be named.

After multiple failed attempts to snag her, Officer Briggs finally grabbed her, and the little dog seemed grateful for the rescue. Licking our hands and faces, tail wagging, she remained clutched in the officer's arms.

With no collar, he had to take her to see if she had a microchip. She's off to the Bergen County animal shelter where she will spend the next seven days.

If no one claims her, Ethan and his mom say they will be thrilled to adopt the little dog that we named "Go-Go" because she never stopped running until she felt the love.

You don't have to go through all this to rescue a little dog or a big one — just help us #ClearTheShelters on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Provided to Pat Battle/NBC 4 NY
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters in Soho]]>Fri, 18 Aug 2017 19:20:54 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Clear_the_Shelters_in_Soho.jpg

NBC 4 and Telemundo 47 are teaming up for a third year to find forever homes for pets across the tri-state. Jummy Olabanji goes to Soho to see how easy it is to adopt a pet in need.]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Celebrity Pets]]>Wed, 25 Jul 2018 10:32:43 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/CTS+CELEB+PETS_NYLIVE.jpg

Singer Miley Cyrus, actor Justin Theroux, host Mario Lopez and actress Lori Loughlin share heartwarming stories with People magazine about their shelter pets.

"Glee" star Jane Lynch also talks about adopting her first dog after filming the mokumentary "Best in Show."

Photo Credit: New York Live]]>
<![CDATA[Benefits of Older Pets]]>Thu, 17 Aug 2017 19:56:50 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Benefits_of_Older_Pets.jpg

If you plan to take in our Clear the Shelters event on Saturday, you may want to open your mind to older pets. Pat Battle explains.]]>
<![CDATA[Costs of Adopting a Pet]]>Tue, 15 Aug 2017 20:13:53 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Costs_of_Adopting_a_Pet.jpg

What are the costs of adopting and caring for a new pet? Lynda Baquero has the details.]]>
<![CDATA[Abandoned Dog Found Buried Up to Neck in Mud Dies at Shelter]]>Tue, 15 Aug 2017 08:33:52 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/mabel+dog.jpg

An abandoned dog that was rescued after being found buried up to its neck in mud has died at a New Jersey shelter. 

The dog named Mabel was taken in by the Associated Humane Society on Aug. 4, after a good Samaritan found her in a swamp in a wooded area notorious as a dump site for people abandoning animals, shelter officials said. 

The elderly pup was in poor health, suffering from a severe urinary tract infection and conjunctivitis, when she was taken to the Popcorn Park Shelter in Forked River. The group had posted a video of Mabel on its Facebook page a week after taking her in, saying it was shocked she hadn't died in her sleep within the first few days of her rescue.

Despite her health issues, she appeared to be improving, the group said. It's not clear how Mabel got into the swamp, but the shelter says it's highly unlikely she wandered off on her own. 

"We'll never know who did this to Mabel or why," the group said in the Facebook post. 

An investigation is ongoing. It wasn't immediately clear when Mabel died, but NJ.com reported Tuesday she died at the shelter. 

In a statement, the Associated Humane Society thanked the public for their outpouring of support. The shelter said Mabel's story was "humbling." Staffers said they considered themselves lucky for the opportunity to show the dog love and compassion.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Associated Humane Society Popcorn Park Shelter
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Animal Shelter Seeks Homes for Older Dogs]]>Tue, 15 Aug 2017 08:34:55 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NJ_Animal_Shelter_Seeks_Homes_for_Older_Dogs.jpg

The Montclair Animal Shelter in New Jersey is hoping to place its senior or middle-aged dogs with loving families. Jen Maxfield reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Meet Tinkerbelle, the Dog Who Went From Shelter to Chic]]>Thu, 10 Aug 2017 22:59:07 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/176*120/THUMBNAIL58.JPGAfter being rescued from a shelter, Tinkerbelle, a Papillon and Maltese mix, was discovered by an agent in New York City and launched her career as a New York Fashion Week model, social media star, and brand ambassador.]]><![CDATA[This NYC Yoga Party Put the 'Dog' in 'Downward Dog']]>Thu, 10 Aug 2017 12:50:40 -0400Ollie and Y7 Yoga Studio partnered to host the unique event. ]]>Ollie and Y7 Yoga Studio partnered to host the unique event. ]]>https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/LSDogsandYoga.jpgA dog yoga party in Brooklyn put the "dog" in "downward dog" earlier this week.

Photo Credit: Masha Maltsava ]]>
<![CDATA[People Pet Vet Talks Clear the Shelters]]>Wed, 09 Aug 2017 17:07:34 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Talk+Stoop+Clear+the+Shelters.jpg.jpeg

People magazine Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle and celebrity pet vet Evan Antin stop by “Talk Stoop” to chat with Cat Greenleaf about the effort to “Clear the Shelters” on Aug. 19.

Dr. Antin’s biggest piece of advice for those planning on adopting a cat or dog: “Going to a local rescue or shelter and visiting with the dogs, and realizing whether or not this is a good move for you,” he says.]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands of Pets Adopted as Part of Clear the Shelters]]>Sun, 20 Aug 2017 10:10:25 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/HUFF+CLEAR+THE+SHELTERS+6P+PKG++-+00000217_WNBC_000000017503123.jpg

Use this interactive map to find a participating shelter near you.

Thousands of dogs, cats and other animals were adopted Saturday as part of a nationwide event to Clear the Shelters, bringing smiles, hugs and lots of fur to happy families that expanded to include a pet. 

In the tri-state area alone, nearly 4,000 pets were adopted Saturday and that number was expected to rise. 

More than 13,000 animals nationwide found their forever homes on Saturday. This month, Clear the Shelters is responsible for more than 50,000 adoptions from more than 900 shelters. 

As part of NBC 4 New York and Telemundo 47's campaign, more than 80 tri-state animal shelters and rescue groups waived or reduced adoption fees. 

Lines formed outside many tri-state shelters as viewers gathered to meet the furry friends who may become family. 

At the Bergen County Animal Shelter, a man who was looking for a quiet companion dog made an instant connection with a chihuahua mix who had been waiting a long time for a home. When shelter volunteers broke the news that the dog had a heart murmur, the man said that he did too. The pair was a perfect match -- to the bottom of their hearts. 

From older dogs to kittens to rabbits to iguanas, the NBC- and Telemundo-owned stations' Clear the Shelters pet adoption campaign has inspired local communities to take action and open their homes to pets in need. Nearly 2,300 tri-state families have adopted a pet since 2015. More than 70,000 pet adoptions have been completed nationwide during the same time period. 

“There is nothing like a child’s smile when they meet a new pet for the first time. It is a deeply moving experience. As a station, we are committed to creating even more of these special moments and that is why our news anchors, reporters and WNBC employees are so passionate about connecting homeless pets with loving homes,” said Eric Lerner, president and general manager of NBC 4 New York.

"We are excited that our Desocupar Los Albergues pet adoption drive continues to grow in popularity across the tri-state area,” added Cristina Schwarz, president and general manager of Telemundo 47. "This year, we have made it even easier for families to open their homes to a homeless pet, with more than 80 shelters and rescue organizations participating across the region."

For more local information about the campaign, tips and success stories, visit nbcnewyork.com/cleartheshelters. You can also follow the effort on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram by using the hashtags #ClearTheShelters and #LoveMyPet. To access information in Spanish, visit DesocuparLosAlbergues.com and follow #DesocuparLosAlbergues and #AmoAMiMascota. Clear the Shelters is an initiative spearheaded by NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations, a division of NBCUniversal.

<![CDATA[How to Bathe Your Dog]]>Thu, 07 Jun 2018 19:24:45 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2017-08-05-at-8.25.58-PM.jpg

Is your pup stinky? Watch Ripley the Chocolate Lab get a bath at Bideawee, a no-kill animal rescue in New York City, and see how you can safely bathe your own canine.]]>
<![CDATA[NYC to At-Home Pet Boarders: Legally, You're in the Doghouse]]>Sat, 29 Jul 2017 16:18:03 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Pet+Boarding+APPS_Carl.jpg

Fur is flying over pet-sitting in New York City, where regulators are sniffing around apps that connect owners with people who take animals into their homes for pay.

Health regulators are trying to reinforce a long-standing rule against the practice, a leading app is pushing back, and a city councilman is pondering the issue. And anxious pet sitters are wondering what to tell clients.

"I don't know what to do," says Tanoopa Jaikaran, who left a marketing job last year to start a dog-walking and pet-sitting business.

She does most of her sitting in clients' own homes but she'd agreed to take a pet or two during upcoming holidays to her three-family Bronx house, where the animals can have their own apartment.

"We want to do everything the right way," she said, but "it's a really hard pill to swallow right now."

In New York and elsewhere, pet-boarding rules have gotten new attention with the rise of apps. The popular Rover and a former rival, DogVacay, were among the top five highest-funded "pet tech" startups in the last five years, according to CB Insights, which tracks venture capital.

Just last month, Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a law letting people board as many as three pets without a license. The sponsors, Republican Rep. Lois Landgraf and Democratic Rep. Dan Pabon, said constituents had been stunned to learn they needed licenses to board pets even occasionally.

"It's not realistic to think that somebody who may not make $400 a year pet-sitting has to have a $400 license, compared to somebody who runs a full-blown dog day care and grooming facility," says Landgraf, a Colorado Republican.

Similarly, California lawmakers last year limited the state's first pet-boarding regulations to facilities hosting four or more animals.

New York City health officials, on the other hand, have proposed to tweak regulations to make the city's in-home pet boarding ban all the more clear. The policy, discussed at a health department hearing this week, doesn't apply to pet-sitting an animal in its own pad or watching someone's pet for free as a favor.

The years-old prohibition isn't actively policed; enforcement is driven by complaints. Statistics weren't available from the Health Department this week.

State Sen. Tony Avella, a Democrat who contacted the city health department last year about pet-sitting apps, says people who advertise and charge for pet care should have to meet licensing standards.

And in a city of apartment-dwellers, health department lawyer Thomas Merrill says residents "have a right not to have someone next door with a bunch of animals coming in." As the Daily News first reported, he told DogVacay in October that its at-home boarders were breaking the law and could be fined.

Rover, which has since acquired DogVacay, says it's unfair to require more of pet sitters than baby sitters and to deprive pet owners of an option that many prefer to a kennel, especially for aged or disabled animals.

"Rover did not invent pet sitting; we simply make it safer with peer reviews, 24-hour safety support and pet sitter screening," said company lawyer John Lapham. He says he's optimistic about reaching "a sensible compromise" with New York regulators.

City Council health committee chairman Corey Johnson, a Democrat, is looking at whether to propose changing the rules.

Proprietors of pet-boarding facilities say it is unfair to let others get into the business without following the same rules.

Tammy Karecki took a city-required course to get a permit, pays thousands of dollars in rent and collects sales tax for her Manhattan dog day care and training center, Star Paws.

"I have to do it, so I think everybody should have to do it," said Karecki, a longtime dog trainer who worries that the do-it-yourself app atmosphere may attract inexperienced pet boarders.

Whatever the setting, the Humane Society of the United States advises pet owners to check references and meet prospective caregivers in person, spokeswoman Vicki Stevens said.

Jaikaran, meanwhile, says she's determined to figure out a solution.

"We do this because we love it," she said as she walked, cajoled and encouraged a client's 10-year-old, arthritic dog on lower Manhattan streets this week.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Don't Give These Foods to Your Pet]]>Sat, 29 Jul 2017 08:49:14 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Don_t_Give_These_Foods_to_Your_Pet.jpg

Nancy Notaro from Animal Care Centers of New York City explains which people foods are OK to share with your pet and which foods are dangerous.]]>
<![CDATA[Puppy Left at Airport Bathroom With Heartbreaking Note]]>Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:20:15 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Chewy+Abandoned+Puppy.jpg

A miniature Chihuahua was left inside a Las Vegas airport bathroom along with a heartbreaking letter from the puppy's owner.

In the handwritten note, Chewy's owner reveals she's a victim of domestic violence and was escaping her "abusive boyfriend," but couldn't afford the airfare for her 3-month-old dog.

"She didn’t want to leave me with all her heart but she has NO other option. My ex-boyfriend kicked my dog when we were fighting and he has a big knot on his head. He probably needs a vet," the note, which was posted on the Connor and Millie's Dog Rescue (CMRD) Facebook page, said. "I love Chewy sooo much – please love and take care of him.”

Since sharing Chewy's story on Facebook, CMDR says there has been “tremendous interest” in the pooch. The Las Vegas-based rescue center said it reviewing all of the interest forms before it selects a new home for Chewy.

"However, there is but 1 Chewy and he can go but to 1 home. Please consider the hundreds if not thousands of "Chewys" loaded with love that are desperately seeking homes in shelters which are at max capacity, rescues are full! Please consider adopting another wonderful companion in his honor!" the shelter added.

Photo Credit: Connor and Millie's Dog Rescue
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Special Needs Corgis Ready for Their Closeups]]>Fri, 14 Jul 2017 15:17:00 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/DSC_9647_Panda.jpgEach corgi in the series has either a behavioral, neurological or other medical need.

Photo Credit: Casey Christopher]]>
<![CDATA[Rescued Miniature Horses to Provide Therapy for Wounded Veterans]]>Fri, 07 Jul 2017 13:33:36 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Horse_Therapy_Helps_Wounded_Veterans.jpg

A riding center in Ramona is bringing together miniature horses saved from slaughter and veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD) in a program that helps heal all involved.

The Cornerstone Therapeutic Riding Center adopted two miniature horses on Thursday, and will use them in its program Operation Saddle Up, which provides therapy to wounded service members and veterans suffering from PTSD, according the center.

The miniature horses were rescued from slaughter in a Texas auction house by P.A.W. 4 The Foundation, an animal rescue organization founded by Charlotte Olhausen. 

According to Cornerstone, the horse therapy provided through Operation Saddle Up has brought an 85 percent decrease in suicidal thoughts, 75 percent decrease in PTSD and 90 percent decrease in anxiety for those veterans enrolled in their program.

In addition to helping service members, Cornerstone said the horses will be used to help children with special needs and serve as program ambassadors throughout the community once they are trained.

<![CDATA[Retriever Fever: America's Most Popular Dogs, in Photos]]>Thu, 06 Jul 2017 22:55:37 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/178*120/1GettyImages-519107508_master.jpgThe Labrador retriever is America's best best friend, according to the American Kennel Club. This gallery features "aw"-inducing photos of the top 10 most popular dog breeds in America, as judged by the AKC.

Photo Credit: Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[ALS Treatment for Dogs Could Benefit Human Patients]]>Thu, 06 Jul 2017 12:46:47 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/ALS+Dog+1.JPG

Despite the increased awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, few people know that a similar disease affects our canine companions. 

Degenerative myelopathy is a disease similar to ALS that causes progressive paralysis in older dogs. Both neurodegenerative diseases are fatal and there is no cure. 

As in humans with ALS, dogs with degenerative myelopathy eventually die when the respiratory system stops working, but often pets are euthanized before. 

But researchers at the University of Massachusetts partnered with the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Grafton, Massachusetts, to test a new drug therapy in dogs that they hope could one day benefit human patients with ALS. 

Dogs participating in the trial, which began in December 2016, undergo tests and are checked every three months to assess their neurological and motor functions. According to Tufts, four dogs are currently in the pilot study. So far, the therapy appears safe in pets, but researchers say it's too early to determine whether it will stop the disease or reverse it.

"Does it work? That’s the question I wake up and go to bed with every day," said Robert H. Brown Jr., a UMass Medical School neurologist and one of the world’s foremost experts on ALS.

The failure rate with clinical trials for any drug is very high.

"Approximately only 10 percent of drugs that make their way into people is actually approved by the FDA for use in humans," said Dr. Cheryl London with Cummings School.

One reason is that tests are done on mice, which are given the disease or genetically engineered. London says because of these factors, the disease in mice don't accurately represent what researchers see in humans. But diseases in dog, cats and even horses do. Researchers also say because these animals are much closer in makeup to humans than mice, the likelihood of success is greater.

Greta, a 9-year-old boxer, is one of the dogs participating in the clinical trial of the drug therapy and her owner hopes it could stop her disease from getting worse. 

"Her contributing to the research was really important," Greta's owner said. "That it links to human ALS and research in that area, it just seemed like Greta could help dogs and humans, both."


If your dog has generative myelopathy and you would like your dog to take part in this study, click here to see if it meets the criteria.

Photo Credit: NBC Boston]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: How to Calm Pets During Fireworks]]>Sat, 01 Jul 2017 14:18:54 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Clear_the_Shelters_Keep_Your_Pet_Calm_During_the_Fireworks.jpg

Tips on how to keep your pet calm during the noisy Fourth of July fireworks shows.]]>
<![CDATA[PAWmicon: Comic Canines in Cosplay]]>Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:04:11 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/pawmicon_19.jpgCoo over woofers dressed as superheroes, and villains, too, from movies and comic books, at a sweet San Diego fundraiser.

Photo Credit: The Helen Woodward Animal Center]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Benefits of Fostering]]>Sat, 24 Jun 2017 11:37:57 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Clear_the_Shelters__Benefits_of_Fostering.jpg

David Glicksman from Animal Care Centers of New York talks to Gus Rosendale about the benefits of fostering animals.]]>
<![CDATA[Kristen Bell, Charlize Theron Gush Over Their Rescue Dogs]]>Thu, 06 Jul 2017 22:08:45 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/KristenBell-CharlizeTheron.jpg

As the Annenberg Foundation prepares to celebrate the opening of the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace in Playa Vista, California, some of Hollywood's most famous dog owners are sharing their positive pet stories with fans.

In a new video posted on YouTube, Kristen Bell reintroduces viewers to her dog Lola, who she rescued at a shelter 13 years ago.

"I wanted a dog for my birthday, which was like my first dog as an adult and she was just staring at me from inside her kennel and I felt this instant connection and the woman at the pound said, 'You may not want that dog. She's been returned by two other families,'" the actress recalled. "And I said, 'Nope. That's my dog. That's the dog I want.'"

The rest, as they like to say in Hollywood, is history.

Stars Who Adopted Pets

Charlize Theron also stars in the video with her two beloved pooches Johnny and Berkley. The Hollywood actress couldn't help but emphasize how much pets can become part of the family.

"My children absolutely adore them and they adore my children and I cannot imagine my family without them," Theron shared. "What's better than opening your door and two friendly faces are just happy to see you no matter what? That's what Berkley and Johnny do."

She added, "They're strays, they look weird but they're so beautiful. You don't need a purebred dog."

The Wallis Annenberg PetSpace is described as a community service and pet adoption center that includes veterinary care and animal education.

In fact, the center also focuses on "the celebration and study of the relationship between people and their pets -- and the important and beneficial impact of the human-animal bond."

"Looking out for another living thing is a way of learning how to look out for yourself, learning to have empathy and love and I think that's brilliant for kids," Stephen Moyer shared. "It's a great reminder for us."

Photo Credit: File/AP Photo
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Nearly 1,000 Animals Rescued]]>Wed, 21 Jun 2017 15:17:08 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC_rescuedanimals0621_1920x1080.jpg

Nearly 1,000 animals are being cared for after being found in an old moving truck in Fresno, California, Friday. Kendyll Lyons, a kennel worker at Fresno Humane Animal Services, has been working long hours to make sure the hundreds of birds, bunnies, quail and others. A total of 955 animals were rescued, but several have since died.

Photo Credit: KSEE-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Ultramarathon Dog Scores Book and Movie Deals]]>Thu, 06 Jul 2017 22:20:07 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_17165751510592.jpg

Gobi, the stray dog who captured hearts when she adopted her human Dion Leonard during a 155-mile race across China's Gobi desert, will be featured in books and a movie depicting how the two met and bonded.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[34 Dogs Saved From 'Deplorable' Conditions in Calif. Home]]>Sat, 17 Jun 2017 18:28:33 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/6-17-17_Dog_Seizure.jpg

Nearly three dozen dogs were rescued Thursday from woeful conditions in a Scotts Valley home, according to the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.

The rescue happened after someone reported that several dogs were suffering from "deplorable and inhumane" treatment at a residence. The animal shelter officers were familiar with the property since there have been similar complaints made in the past, the shelter wrote on Facebook. 

"The conditions were such that [the dogs] needed to be seized," Linda Puzziferro from the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter said. "They were breeding the dogs, and there were many dogs. The conditions were not good."

With the help of warrants and assistance from the Scotts Valley Police Department, the animal shelter retrieved 34 dogs. Most of the canines were Boston terriers, as well as some Tibetan spaniels and one Chihuahua mix.

The pets were not being treated appropriately and will need to be examined by the veterinarians, according to the shelter.

The dogs' owner struggles with hoarding problems and recently suffered a stroke, a man who lives on the property where the dogs were seized told NBC Bay Area. The man added that he understands there were too many dogs in one location, but claimed the pups were healthy.

The shelter is stretched thin, officials said, and asked for donations.

People looking for more information can find it online.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Rabbits]]>Sat, 17 Jun 2017 13:13:04 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Clear_the_Shelters__Rabbits.jpg

Nancy Notaro from Animal Care and Control talks to Gus Rosendale about pet rabbits.]]>
<![CDATA[Calif. Couple Accused of Hoarding 180 Yorkies Pleads Guilty]]>Wed, 12 Jul 2017 02:48:23 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Poway-Dogs-RESCUED.jpg

A Poway couple, accused of hoarding more than a hundred Yorkie dogs inside their homes and a restaurant pleaded guilty Monday, confirmed prosecutors.

Christine Calvert, 62, and Mark Vattimo, 73, will be placed on three years of probation at their sentencing on July 11, said prosecutors.

Calvert and Vattimo previously pleaded not guilty in March.

Deputy District Attorney Karra Reedy said it's most important that the defendants get help, in order to make sure this never happens again.

The defendants must undergo counseling and are not allowed to own any pets, as part of their plea agreement. They also will transfer the ownership of a 31-foot motorhome to the Humane Society as restitution in the case, said prosecutors.

After 18 months of probation, Vattimo and Calvert may apply to have their felony convictions reduced to misdemeanors, according to Superior Court Judge Kathleen Lewis.

Back in January, the Humane Society received a report from a concerned veterinarian that suggested the Poway couple was keeping 180 dogs in deplorable conditions. The dogs were kept in dark, unsanitary rooms filled with feces, urine, and mice at the defendants' home.

When Humane Society officials went to the scene, they were prevented from entering the home, said Reedy. After a few days, they were able to come in and 94 dogs were removed from the defendants' home within the next eight hours.

Later, 29 dogs were also seized from a restaurant the couple owned and nearly 50 dogs were taken from a motor home when Calvert was arrested last February in Primm, Nevada, according to prosecutors.

It was unclear why the couple kept so many dogs in terrible conditions, Reedy said. All the animals had health problems, ranging from ear infections to severe matting.

The couple was charged with 10 felony counts, including animal abuse and neglect, and one count of resisting an officer.

The dogs were placed in the care of the San Diego Humane Society. 

More than 1,500 adoption applications were submitted for the Yorkies, prompting the organization to close the adoption process earlier than planned.

Ed. Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the name of a defendant. The article has been corrected. We regret the error.

Photo Credit: San Diego Humane Society]]>
<![CDATA[Remember Patrick the Miracle Dog? You've Got to See Him Now]]>Thu, 27 Jul 2017 12:48:33 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/patrick+the+dog+june+2017.jpg

Patrick bounds into his living room with his favorite blankie in his mouth, tail wagging, paws clipping excitedly on the floor, as he happily greets a new visitor. His rich, reddish fur glints in the sunlight as he bounces around, his energy infectious.

It’s hard to believe he’s the same starved, skeletal pit bull pup found on the brink of death in Newark six years ago. Stuffed into a trash bag and thrown 19 stories down an apartment building garbage chute, Patrick was found only when a janitor noticed the trash bag moving and opened it to discover a breathing dog.

“It was as if he was not even alive,” said Patricia Scavelli, administrator at the Garden State Veterinary Specialists, the 24-hour animal hospital that ended up taking in Patrick. Scavelli and her husband have been caring for the pup since.

The dog weighed just 15 pounds when he was discovered on March 16, 2011. Patrick, named for the holiday that came a day later, was so emaciated that his body was shutting down. He was infested with bugs, his nails were overgrown and the top of his head was caved in because malnutrition had wasted away the muscle and tissue. The sight of him was striking -- and disturbing.

The veterinarian who took in and treated Patrick didn't expect him to make it through the night. 

Slowly, Patrick began recovering at the animal hospital. Doctors were careful to feed him slowly and get him used to food. An endoscopy revealed a giant hairball in his stomach, and he underwent surgery to get that removed. Eventually he was neutered. He tripled his weight and simply flourished. By that time, vets estimated that Patrick was about a year old, based on his teeth.

“There wasn’t any magic, honestly,” said Scavelli. “We just fed him, and he developed normally."

It was Scavelli that Patrick took a particular liking to over the next couple of months at the hospital. Her husband owned the hospital, and she often spent long days and nights at the family business. Patrick grew attached. 

“He would literally crawl under my feet at the desk, feeling safe in his own little place,” she said. “So it became really clear he was very close to me. Even the person from the [local] Humane Society was like, ‘I don’t think you have a choice. You have to adopt this dog,” Scavelli said.

After months of waiting for Patrick to heal, and for a court battle over his custody to wrap up, Scavelli brought him to her family's Colts Neck home.

Patrick instantly took to his new environment. The Scavellis already had another 12-year-old pit bull mix, Lilly, and an older cat. Patrick formed a special bond with Lilly, following her around and mimicking her, essentially learning how to be a dog -- an experience he never truly had because he was traumatized when he was so young. 

The family began to understand what Patrick may have gone through in his short traumatic past. He still had scars, which veterinarians thought were from him having been bitten, perhaps as a bait dog. He would be terrified of going inside a bathroom, leading Scavelli to speculate he may have been confined to closets or other small spaces. It also became obvious that Patrick had been teased with food in the past: for a dog that had been so emaciated, he barely touched his food -- perhaps he’d been teased or tortured with food that tasted bad or sickened him. And when Scavelli’s husband brought a golf club into the home one day, a terrified Patrick fled and hid, apparently scared of the stick.

“These were things you learned as time went on, and you got him used to the idea that this is OK, he’s not going to hurt you,” said Scavelli. 

When Lilly died last year, Patrick got very quiet. For about three months, he was upset and depressed and didn't act like himself. But he soon emerged with a newfound sense of confidence, almost as if he was rising to the occasion, recognizing that he was now the protector.

“He could have been vicious and mean because ‘people did not take care of me,’” said Scavelli. “But I think that these mixed-breed type pit bulls, they want to please their owner. They really want to be happy with their owner, and they will do anything to love them. 

“And with Patrick -- he’ll cry if you go to the bathroom. He wants to be with you all the time. He wants that closeness,” she said. “You’ll find that if you sit down, he has to be there. If you’re laying down, he has to be there. He wants a close connection with people.”

Even as a 7-year-old dog now, Patrick remains puppyish. He still has his favorite blankie from his time in the animal hospital, and loves to run and chase after deer that wander on the property sometimes with the blankie in his mouth, as if it makes him invincible, Scavelli laughs. 

And all these years later, Patrick isn’t forgotten by his admirers and supporters who first rooted for him when the story of his horrific abuse emerged. Care packages and donations flooded the animal hospital when he was there, much of which was donated to the local Humane Society. One woman from Australia sent a scrapbook chronicling his journey. Another sent a bandana with his name on it.

“Every year, around his birthday, there’s someone who goes out there, ‘Hey, give us a new picture of Patrick, how’s he doing?’” said Scavelli. “My husband sees many appointments and people are still like, ‘How’s Patrick?’”

“It’s like you could be anywhere, and people would say, ‘How’s Patrick?’ He’s had a very lasting effect on everybody. He touched people.”

But Patrick, who seems now like he could be a puppy forever, is oblivious to all of that. He’s just eager to offer a piece of his blankie to new human friends so they can play tug-of-war, or to sit for a treat, or to keep a close eye on the lawn outside for any possible birds that encroach on his territory.

After all he went through, finally, he’s just a happy little dog in his happy home. 

Patrick's old owner, Kisha Curtis of Newark, pleaded guilty in 2013 to animal cruelty. A judge sentenced her to 18 months probation and $2,000 restitution to the New Jersey SPCA. 

<![CDATA[Stolen Dog Reunited With SoCal Family 7 Year Later]]>Wed, 07 Jun 2017 10:06:59 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dog-reunion-060617.jpg

Pet microchipping led to a heartwarming reunion Tuesday for a Southern California family and their dog, who finally returned home seven years after she was stolen.

Kona, an 8-year-old pit bull, was dropped off by animal control at Ventura County Animal Services (VCAS) Saturday in Camarillo, where workers scanned her for a microchip implant that led to her owner, Shannon Pratt.

The last time Pratt and her family saw Kona was seven years ago when the then-1-year-old pit bull was stolen from their backyard in Ventura County, according to VCAS. The family has since moved to Bakersfield and Kona's collar was left behind.

Upon receiving the good news from VCAS, Pratt and her daughters drove to Ventura County to pick up Kona.

Tuesday's emotional reunion, which was streamed live on VCAS' Facebook, shows Pratt and her three daughters happy to be reunited with Kona.

"It's just the best feeling when the microchip scanner beeps," said VCAS director Tara Diller. "It means the pet has a microchip, and the chances of reuniting pets with their owners increases exponentially."

Even though a microchip implant dramatically increases the likelihood of locating a pet's owner, the vast majority of lost pets do not have these implants, according to VCAS spokesman Randy Friedman.

This is also true of the lost pets at the Camarillo Animal Shelter. Few animals there have microchips, making it difficult to locate owners and move animals out of the shelter. The Camarillo shelter currently offers shelter to 240 animals, almost 100 animals more than its intended 150-animal capacity. The shelter has been far over capacity since it became a "no-kill" facility in 2014, Friedman said.

Microchip implants are the size of a grain of rice and last a lifetime, making them a "game changer" for lost pets, Friedman added.

Animal services officials especially urge owners to microchip their pets as July 4 nears. Friedman said that having a microchip implant will increase the chance that a pet will be returned if it gets lost after running from fireworks.

VCAS offers microchip implants for $10 at low-cost vaccination clinics that are held at different sites each month. Implants are offered for free for pets that were lost and have been returned to their owners.

Photo Credit: Ventura County Animal Services
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[50 Animals Rescued Following Animal Cruelty Complaint]]>Tue, 06 Jun 2017 14:15:04 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/196*120/NHSPCA+rescue+060117+1+EDIT.jpg

About 50 animals living in overcrowded, filthy conditions were rescued in New Hampshire and relocated to the New Hampshire Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (NHSPCA) in Stratham following an animal cruelty complaint, authorities said.

An NHSPCA spokesman says the animals include two horses, a mother dog and her four puppies, 27 rabbits and 15 guinea pigs.

All will be evaluated by a veterinarian.

The organization believes the dogs are suffering from worms and the horses appear underweight and without proper hoof care. Some of the rabbits and guinea pigs were suffering from urine burns on their paws.

"It is always devastating to see animals that were entrusted to the care of humans and those humans failed to provide it," said Lisa Dennison, the NHSPCA's executive director. "These animals have suffered at the hands of human seeking to make a profit from their offspring."

The NHSPCA says the owners of the animals are cooperating with authorities but are expected to face animal neglect charges. Their information has not been released.

Once the animals have recovered, the NHSPCA said they will be placed in homes.

The agency is seeking donations to help pay for their food, vaccinations and care. To make a donation, go to www.nhspca.org, call 603-772-2921, Ext. 102 or send it by mail to New Hampshire SPCA, PO Box 196, Stratham, NH 03885.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: New Hampshire SPCA]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Preventing Dog Bites]]>Sat, 03 Jun 2017 11:34:36 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Clear_the_Shelters_Preventing_Dog_Bites.jpg

What to look out for if your pet gets aggressive or stressed.]]>
<![CDATA[Meet Isis, the Bomb-Sniffing Dog Protecting You]]>Thu, 25 May 2017 12:30:13 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/215*120/052417+isis+the+bomb+sniffing+dog.jpg

ISIS was raised in prison, but she wasn't doing hard time. The bombing-sniffing pooch was trained by female inmates at Florida prison to become a service dog as part of a program called Puppies Behind Bars. NBC 6’s Julia Bagg reports.

Photo Credit: NBC 6]]>
<![CDATA[Service Dog in HS Yearbook]]>Fri, 19 May 2017 23:31:55 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/soldier+campbell+yearbook1.jpg

To see Kathryn Campbell smile, you'd have to look into her past. The once active, talkative little girl started having seizures at the age of ten.

"She has since lost her ability to speak with us, and she doesn't smile very much anymore," said her mother, Kim Campbell. "We have lost that outgoing little girl, and that has been absolutely the most difficult part."

Bringing comfort to the whole family is Kathryn's best friend, Soldier.

"He's a goofball, and he's a big old scaredy cat. He eats socks, which is his absolute worst habit," Kim Campbell said.

Soldier is Kathryn's service dog. Together, they attend Timber Creek High School in Fort Worth. He's by her side constantly — even in the school yearbook.

But his presence is for more than just comfort.

"He can smell the differences in her body before the seizures actually happen," her mother said.

His alerts range from licking to pawing and barking, and they give Kathryn's caregivers an average 45-minute warning before a seizure occurs.

"Every seizure is life-threatening," said Kathryn's nurse, Samantha Stringer.

Stringer said she uses the extra warning time to prepare oxygen and rescue meds.

When she jumps into action, Soldier waits. He's always on alert, and he's always by Kathryn's side—through everything.

As high school freshmen they went to homecoming together—and then prom.

Soldier is an active member of Kathryn's classroom, so when it came to student picture day, Soldier took part.

"There's lots of kids rolling through, it's like, 'Hey! Here's a dog, okay good,'" said photographer Jared Pyfer, who captured Soldier's student ID picture.

Soldier is not only featured in an article with Kathryn in the yearbook, he also has his own picture, alongside the other students.

Because of his name's first letter, S, Kathryn's sister separates them in the row of pictures. But Soldier is close by—just like always.

"I think it commemorates their bond that they have. They get to go through all of this together," student Amanda Barber said.

Soldier is a proud student with a life-saving sense of smell and enough love to give anyone who needs some comfort.

"Every life matters and everyone that walks into this school matters," Stringer said. "Even a dog's life can make an impact of life and death, and I think that's amazing."

"He's a blessing, all the way around," said Kim Campbell said.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Need a Dog Walker? There's an App for That]]>Thu, 06 Jul 2017 22:44:25 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/2017-05-15_0630.png

If you have a dog you have to leave everyday to go to work, you may feel a little guilty? What if your dog needs to go outside? Well, there's an app for that. News4's consumer reporter Susan Hogan shows us how a new app can make your day guilt free.]]>
<![CDATA[Pistons Coach Adopts Animal Shelter's Last Dog]]>Thu, 06 Jul 2017 22:37:33 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/US-MI-Last-Dog-Adopt-CR_1200x675_940425283974.jpg

Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy and his family have adopted a Labrador retriever mix that was an animal shelter's last remaining dog following a pet adoption day.

Van Gundy, his wife Kim and their teenage daughter picked up Eastwood, a special needs dog, Tuesday at the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society in the northern Michigan city of Harbor Springs.

Eastwood gained national attention last week for being the shelter's last remaining dog following a statewide "Empty the Shelters" free pet adoption day that found homes for nearly 1,600 pets at 66 Michigan shelters.

The friendly pooch was born with an eye defect and a leg deformity that may someday require surgery.]]>
<![CDATA[Duck Shows Up at Man's Home, Refuses to Leave]]>Mon, 08 May 2017 16:12:48 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC_duckman0508_1500x845.jpg

A duck showed up at a Florida man's home a few weeks ago -- and he says it still won't leave the property. Lakeland resident Richard Martin says he tries to take the animal to a nearby lake but she always waddles back to his house.]]>
<![CDATA[Cat Survives 15 BB Gun Shots]]>Thu, 11 Oct 2018 02:32:08 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/chance-the-cat-la.jpg

An eight-month-old kitten is recovering after being shot 15 times with a BB gun earlier this week.

The stray feline came in to Nohl Ranch Animal Hospital with multiple puncture wounds, all of them aimed at his head, according to hospital officials. Five BB gun pellets went through the cat's skull; surgeons were able to remove all but one, which was too deeply embedded. 

Hospital workers have named the cat "Chance" because he miraculously survived the attack. Veterinarians said that cats are normally quick to run away once they've been attacked, raising questions about how 15 shots were fired at the kitten. 

"We would think he would have ran, so it's a possibility that he could've been held down or tied down," Dr. Janie Guirguis said. "But we're not sure."

Chance was found hovering under a truck just a few blocks from the Nohl Ranch Animal Hospital in Orange County, California.

Doctors said the shock of the attack left Chance blind, but they're hoping he'll regain his eyesight as he heals.

Chance will continue to recover before Nohl Ranch begins searching for a suitable home.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Lab Report: Gene Researchers Map Out Dog Family Tree]]>Tue, 25 Apr 2017 21:27:50 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/211*120/gretriever.jpg

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have come up with the most complete and definitive canine family tree to date, NBC News reported.

They've spent more than 20 years sampling the genes of 161 breeds of dog, sequencing them and comparing them to show how breeds were mixed and matched to make new breeds. The genealogy also gives a rough timeline and geographic map of what came from where.

"It's very subtle variation in small numbers of genes that account for that very large difference in morphology that we see across breeds," said Elaine Ostrander of the National Human Genome Research Institute, part of the NIH.

The goal is to track disease-causing genetic mutations, which often translate to human disease genes, Ostrander said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Match for Mutts? Website Helps People Adopt the Best Dog]]>https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Golden-Retriever-GettyImages-522796697.jpg

There's a new way to find the perfect family dog. 

The founders of the website How I Met My Dog say people usually select a pet based on appearance and breed. But that's barking up the wrong tree. 

How I Met My Dog matches humans and potential pets based on what really matters - personality, lifestyle and behavior. Some are calling it a canine version of eHarmony or Match for mutts. 

People looking for a new dog can fill out a personality profile based on their lifestyle. 

The site then matches them with dogs at shelters or that need new homes that would complement that lifestyle. 

The service has rolled out in the Boston area, and the founders are hoping to go nationally later this year.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Hero Images]]>
<![CDATA[Family Set to Adopt One Dog, Leaves With Two]]>Sat, 23 Jul 2016 18:01:40 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/CTSJediSithDogs_1200x675_731049539547.jpgNBC 7's Dagmar Midcap speaks with a San Diego family who went to the San Diego Humane Society during Clear The Shelters on July 23, 2016 with the intentions of adopting one dog, but happily left with two new pets.]]><![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Hundreds of Local Pets Adopted]]>Sun, 24 Jul 2016 09:46:35 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/CoDrloiWgAESOJi.jpg

Local animal lovers came out in droves and took home hundreds of new friends, making the second annual Clear the Shelters event a huge success.

Participating shelters in the tri-state area reported that 1,191 pets had been adopted during the day.

More than 40 local NBC and Telemundo television stations teamed up with about 650 animal shelters across the country and in Puerto Rico for the event. Animal shelters offered no-cost or reduced-fee adoptions and waived spaying and neutering fees.

One pup traveled all the way from Turkey to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Westchester County. Rosie spent about a month and a half at the Briarcliff Manor shelter before being adopted Saturday by a Connecticut man.

Rosie had been a bit difficult to place because of a neurological syndrome.

"She’s going to fine for her life but it's just something to look out for and keep on top of," said the shelter’s executive director, Shannon Laukhuf. "When you see her walk, she's usually fine but every ten steps she might sway a little bit.

“She doesn’t let it stop her,” Laukhuf said. “She’s just the most playful dog. She loves other animals, she’s great with kids.”

At the Connecticut Humane Society, numerous families came in as soon as the doors opened.

Bliss Kern, who serves as executive director of the Westport Branch, said the day was “a big success,” adding that the need for adoption is often greatest in the summer because some people move and give up or abandon their pets this time of year.

Many members of the NBC 4 New York news crew also made friends with some cute pets.

In all, more than 45,000 animals have been adopted as part of Clear the Shelters from the beginning of July through Saturday.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Pets Adopted Around the Country]]>Sat, 23 Jul 2016 18:53:00 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/ACCT+Othello+Dog+CTS.JPGThousands of pets have been adopted from hundreds of shelters across the country as part of Clear the Shelters, NBC and Telemundo's nationwide pet adoption initiative. Here are some of the animals that found their forever homes.

Photo Credit: Joseph Kaczmarek]]>
<![CDATA[David Ushery Tells the Story of a Pet Adoption]]>Sat, 23 Jul 2016 14:02:10 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/IMG_0931-146929224883900001.jpgHear NBC 4 New York's David Ushery share a heartwarming story from Clear the Shelters. ]]><![CDATA[Pet Profile: Clear The Shelters]]>Sat, 23 Jul 2016 11:04:10 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/CTS-Adoption.pngDavid Glicksman of Animal Care Centers of NYC discusses the importance of this year's Clear The Shelters event and how you can be a part of the effort.]]><![CDATA[After Fire, NJ Shelter Hopes Animals Get New Homes]]>Fri, 22 Jul 2016 09:06:41 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/shelter+wants+to+adopt+after+fire.jpgIt's NBC's Clear the Shelters event this weekend, and for one New Jersey shelter, it's the perfect time, just a few months after a fire destroyed their facility. Natalie Pasquarella reports.]]><![CDATA[Starved Puppy Greets Rescuers With Wagging Tail]]>Fri, 22 Jul 2016 06:53:17 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/closeuppup.jpg

A sickly, emaciated puppy was so excited to receive attention when animal control officers came to rescue him that he collapsed from exertion as he furiously wagged his tail, according to his rescuers in New Jersey. 

The officers in Paterson were responding to a report of a starved puppy being kept outside in the heat with no food or water, according to animal rescue group Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge. 

The puppy "collapsed from the exertion and excitement of greeting a visitor, having been alone for days," the rescue group said in a fundraising page set up for the pup.

One of the officers took him off his chain and brought him into the home, where he staggered over to the toilet and lapped up all the water before she could stop him, all the time wagging his tail and falling over.

"The puppy's tail never stopped wagging -- he was so excited to finally have human contact and kind touch," the rescue group said. 

The owners admitted to animal control officers the pup hadn't eaten in days. 

The puppy was taken to Oradell Animal Hospital, where rescue group workers met the animal control officers. 

"When they arrived and unwrapped him, he began wiggling again," the rescue group said. "He was so happy, his tail wagging furiously -- all the while, the rescuers were in tears as he tipped over and over again from weakness, his skin flaked to the floor and his little heartbeat seemed to shine right through his paper-thin skin."

The puppy -- named Pax by his rescuers, because he seemed to have finally found his peace -- is receiving IV treatment in the hospital for the next several days until he is stabilized. 

"We can't wait to give him all of the attention, love and care that he has so desperately been craving," said the rescue group. 

A GoFundMe page set up for the puppy had raised over $5,000 by Thursday afternoon. 

It's not clear if the owners of the dog are facing charges. A message was left with Paterson police. 

Photo Credit: Ramapo-Bergen Animal Rescue]]>
<![CDATA[Partial Refund for Spay of New Pet]]>Wed, 20 Jul 2016 18:55:40 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000012430335_1200x675_728882755632.jpgConsumer Reporter Lynda Baquero helps a New York woman get a promised partial refund for spaying her newly adopted dog.]]><![CDATA[Live Adoption Tracker]]>Thu, 21 Jul 2016 12:17:19 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Hanna-Clear-the-Shelters.jpg

Animal shelters across the country are teaming up with NBC and Telemundo stations to find loving homes for pets in need. 

The second annual Clear the Shelters event, a nationwide pet adoption initiative, is happening July 23. More than 400 shelters in 20 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico are waiving or discounting fees as part of the one-day adoption drive. 

Over 19,000 pets were adopted during last year’s event, but millions more remain homeless. Every year, 7.6 million animals end up in shelters nationwide — and only 2.7 million are adopted, according to the ASPCA. 

Follow our live counter below to see how many animals have been adopted at the 50+ shelters taking part in the tri-state area on July 23.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Great Apps for Pets]]>Tue, 19 Jul 2016 18:52:37 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/puppy+app.jpgConsumer Reporter Lynda Baquero has some great apps for your pets.]]><![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Northshore Animal League America]]>Sun, 17 Jul 2016 12:23:28 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000012379745_1200x675_726650947659.jpgMatthew Carroll from Northshore Animal League America shows us some adorable puppies looking for a forever home. Join NBC New York and Telemundo 47 in our annual "Clear the Shelters" event on July 23.]]><![CDATA[Madonna Dancer's Dog Shot, Killed by Police in Brooklyn]]>Wed, 13 Jul 2016 09:39:57 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/stonnie+boy+dog+shot+killed.jpg

A dog belonging to a professional dancer touring with Madonna was shot and killed by police officers while they were issuing an arrest warrant in Brooklyn Tuesday, police and friends say. 

The officers went to a home on Montauk Avenue in East New York in the early evening to serve a warrant to a 29-year-old man wanted in an open complaint, police said.

There, the suspect had a pit bull loose, and the dog bit one of the officers in the arm. His partner opened fire on the dog, killing it, police said.

"They came into the gate. He had the dog loose and the dog came out," said witness Micky Burgos. 

The cop who was bitten was treated for minor injuries. 

The dog belonged to a friend of the suspect, who was watching it while the owner -- a professional dancer named Stanley "Sheik" Mondesir -- wraps up his tour with Madonna in Los Angeles, friends said.

A witness said the officers had no choice but to shoot the animal, but friends said the dog was well-trained and cops should have tried to avoid it.

"The dog is a good dog," said Peaches Simmons, a friend of Mondesir. "I feel like if they really needed to get in the house -- that's why the need animal control." 

Simmons called Mondesir to let him know his dog was killed, and said he was distraught.

"He started crying 'cause he had Stonnie since he's a baby," said Simmons.

The dog, named Stonnie Boy -- an apparent slang term for "get wild" and something Madonna yells onstage -- was about 3 or 4 years old. 

People in the neighborhood said the dog was well-behaved and never seemed aggressive. But Burgos said the officers did what they had to do.

"I told the police officer, 'I'm sorry, it wasn't your fault,' 'cause the dog came at him," said Burgos. 

Police would not describe the nature of the warrant that was being issued against the suspect. 

Mondesir is a so-called "bone-breaker" dancer who has been touring with Madonna over the past year, friends said. He was also part of a popular dance crew, RingMasters, that appeared on MTV. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY/Provided
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[9 Cats That Won't Make You Sneeze]]>Thu, 08 Aug 2019 09:53:39 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-99192954_high-cropped.jpgIf you love cats but suffer from allergies, don't be discouraged. Here are a few breeds that won't send you running for Benadryl.

Photo Credit: Brenda Carson/Getty Images/Hemera]]>
<![CDATA[Pa. Firefighters Rescue Fox]]>Mon, 11 Jul 2016 12:12:38 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Soccer+Net+Fox.PNG

A group of local heroes rescued a fox tangled in a soccer net in New Hope, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

New Hope Eagle Volunteer Firefighters, along with Solebury Township Police and Medic 146 came to the rescue of the fox after its head was stuck in the soccer net.

A video posted on Facebook shows the group cutting the net that appears to be tangled around the animal's head. They then released the fox back into the woods. Take a look at the rescue in the video embedded above.

Photo Credit: New Hope Eagle Volunteer Fire Company
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Pet Profile: Adopting A Rabbit]]>Sat, 09 Jul 2016 12:24:55 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cxvsdvdf.pngNancy Notaro of Animal Care Centers of NYC shares what you need to know before bringing home a new bunny.]]><![CDATA[Md. Woman Kept 66 Dogs in Her Home]]>Sat, 09 Jul 2016 09:38:30 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Katherine+Ting+Tiong+Look+N.jpg

A Maryland woman will spend 180 days in jail for keeping 66 dogs in deplorable conditions in her home.

A district court judge sentenced 47-year-old Katherine Ting Tiong, of Rockville, to more than 16 years in prison with all but 180 days suspended. She also will be placed under three years probation and has been ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. 

The judge said the dogs would have been better off euthanized than continue living in her home.

Ting Tiong was charged earlier this year after police rescued the dogs on New Year’s Day.

The dogs were found in varying levels of distress, according to the Animal Services Division of the Montgomery County Police Department. Many of the animals had dirty fur soaked in urine, infections or suffered from other untreated diseases.

Three of the dogs had to be euthanized, and another also died.

Ting Tiong told authorities she was operating a rescue service called Forever Homes Animal Rescue.

Before sentencing Friday, Ting Tiong told News4's Kristin Wright she had lined up a rescue in New Jersey to pick up 30 of the dogs.

The police investigation officially began after one of the dogs bit a woman at a Potomac pet adoption event in December.

Most of the surviving dogs have been adopted, but some of them are still working through issues with their new families, according to Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center. Three of the dogs are still up for adoption.

To adopt, call 240-773-5900.

Photo Credit: Montgomery County Police]]>
<![CDATA[Rescue Dog Beats Cancer]]>Tue, 05 Jul 2016 11:33:02 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC_dogcancer0701_1920x1080.jpgA sweet rescue dog is getting a life-saving cancer treatment at a hospital that usually houses only people.

Photo Credit: WDSU-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Helping Pets During Fireworks Shows]]>Mon, 11 Jul 2016 12:27:34 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Dogs+vs+Fireworks.jpg

The Fourth of July fireworks may be fun for those of us on two legs, but for a lot of four-legged friends out there, it's not the same story. 

The loud noise from fireworks shows during the holiday can often cause serious anxiety for pets and can even send some running out of fear.

Cate McManus with Dallas Animal Services said it’s common to see a rush the day after the yearly Fourth of July display as their already packed shelter takes on even more pets that got away from home.

“When animals just freak out from fireworks, they get out of fences or break down doors," she said. "I mean some dogs really go to extremes to get away — they’re so scared."

There are a lot of options available to deal with the anxiety such as wearable options, while others include herbal or over-the-counter pills offered at pet stores.

Last May, when Southlake veterinarian Dr. Tom Holbrook was seeing similar anxiety from dogs during thunderstorms, he showed NBC 5 a new medication being prescribed to dogs during such situations called Sileo.

"You put it in the cheek and gums,” said Holbrook. “Just put the syringe right in the gum right there and just squirt so many dots, and the dots are on the syringe itself."

The fast acting gel calms the pet and wears off after just a few hours. Holbrook’s office warns that it does require a checkup and prescription from your local vet to get the gel.

McManus said her best advice for avoiding problems during the fireworks is to keep your animals indoors and comfortable in a spot where they feel safe.

“Keeping them confined, well confined, certainly with a collar and tags on just in case,” she said.

If you do come across a stray after the fireworks, local animal services leaders ask that you contact them right away so that they can work to get that pet back home.

Photo Credit: Brian Scott, NBC 5]]>
<![CDATA[Dogs Hitch a Ride With Maryland Firefighters]]>Sun, 03 Jul 2016 13:42:38 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dogs110.jpg

A group of Maryland firefighters gave a helping hand to a few four-legged furry friends Saturday morning — saving one from a hot car.

Prince George's County firefighters were called to the Home Depot in the 6000 block of Oxon Hill Road after a man reported having chest pains.

The man was in his vehicle in the store's parking lot with three dogs. He told the firefighters he had been drinking and was intoxicated, fire officials said.

Firefighters offered to take him to the hospital, but he declined. The concerned firefighters then called police who told the man he was in no condition to drive home. They suggested he walk to his house nearby.

The firefighters then noticed a dog left in another parked vehicle in the lot. All of the vehicle's windows were closed.

The crew found a door unlocked and rescued the dog. They tended to the pup until its owners returned to the vehicle, fire officials said.

Firefighters then gave the three other dogs an adventurous ride back home on-board the fire engine.

Photo Credit: Prince George's County Fire and EMS]]>
<![CDATA[You Can't Resist This Puppy Bath Video]]>Thu, 30 Jun 2016 11:18:55 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/maltese+bath.jpg

A trio of exceedingly adorable poodles and Maltese is cute — but a video of that trio taking a bath is a doggone must-see.

Footage from South Korea of the three dogs taking a bath is making the rounds on social media, and more than 17 million haven't resisted the click. 

The video shows the pups standing in a red bucket of water, tongues lolling as only their legs and paws are submerged. It cuts to totally soaked doggies, their legs turned to fluffballs as their fur absorbs water. 

Then, the crescendo: The three pups are out of the bath, getting blown dry in their very own drying contraption. And they couldn't seem happier.

Photo Credit: teddygraham61515/Instagram
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Kitten Escapes Pet Store Cage to Play With Puppy]]>Wed, 29 Jun 2016 12:38:56 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Puppy-Kitten-GettyImages-172292342.jpg

A cuddly kitten escaped its enclosure at a pet shop in Taiwan and leaped into the neighboring booth of an equally cute little puppy. 

Adorable video of the rogue kitty's break-out and subsequent break-in at JoLinn Pet House is making the rounds on social media and has already been viewed more than 2 million times since it was posted Sunday. 

The video shows the black and white furball leap to the top of the plastic edge of its enclosure, back paws wildly trying to grip the partition as it hoists itself to the top.

The kitten eventually makes it to the top of the panel and sidles over to the next enclosure, where a very happy puppy eagerly awaits a playmate. The kitten jumps in with the pup and the two friends start playing in truly adorable fashion.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Meet the American Kennel Club's Newest Dog Breed]]>Wed, 22 Jun 2016 07:43:15 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/westminster+dog.jpg

A high-energy Hungarian herding dog is the latest new breed headed to the Westminster Kennel Club and many other U.S. dog shows.

The American Kennel Club is announcing Wednesday that it is recognizing the pumi, the 190th breed to join the roster of the nation's oldest purebred dog registry. That means the pumi can vie for best of breed at Westminster for the first time next February.

With coats of corkscrew curls and ears that flop at the tips, the pumi (pronounced POOM'-ee) has a whimsical expression that belies its strong work ethic, fanciers say. The 20-to-30-pound breed goes back centuries in Hungary, where it herded cattle, sheep, and swine. It's related to the puli, a breed already recognized by the AKC and known for its coat of long cords.

Like many herding dogs, pumis — the proper plural is actually "pumik" — are alert and active.

"They're not for somebody who's going to sit and watch TV all day long," said Chris Levy, president of the Hungarian Pumi Club of America. But if provided with enough exercise and stimulation, "the pumi can chill out."

Considered quick learners, pumis have done well at agility and other canine sports. Some in the U.S. also herd rabbits, chickens, goats and even cats in a cattery, said Levy, who breeds the dogs in Salem, Oregon. She and others have been working to build up the breed in the U.S. for two decades, but it's still quite rare.

AKC recognition requires having at least 300 dogs of the breed nationwide, among other criteria. Two other new breeds, the American hairless terrier and an ancient North African hound called the sloughi, were recognized this past January and will also be eligible for Westminster for the first time next year.

Some animal-rights advocates say dog breeding is too appearance-focused and irresponsible when many mixed-breed animals need adoption. The AKC says conscientious breeding helps people and pets make happy matches by making the animals' characteristics somewhat more predictable.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Thomas Pitera/The American Kennel Club via AP]]>
<![CDATA[11 of the Best Dog Breeds for Senior Citizens]]>Thu, 20 Jun 2019 16:21:31 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/welsh-terrier.jpgA friendly dog can make the perfect sidekick for a senior citizen. According to PetBreeds, these 11 breeds are hardy and cheerful, making them excellent companion dogs. They are also highly intelligent and can be trained to assist less able-bodied owners.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pet Grooming From Cute to Bizarre]]>Tue, 21 Jun 2016 09:47:47 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/pets6.jpgAn unusual pet salon in Taiwan is attracting customers with fur grooming services that range from cute to bizarre. Styles include trimming your pets' fur into the shape of Hello Kitty, a teddy bear and something the salon calls "stegosaurus spine." groomers here say the teddy bear style is the most difficult design to execute. It takes up to three hours to complete. The shop charges at least $20 for one trim, depending on pet size and the level of difficulty. One thing is certain: pets are sure to stand out from the crowd after a visit here.

Photo Credit: RTV]]>
<![CDATA[Rescued New Jersey Dogs To Find New Homes]]>Wed, 15 Jun 2016 22:37:59 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000011971444_1200x675_706324035565.jpg20 Dogs Rescued From Atlantic County, New Jersey home being rehabilitated for adoption. Ted Greenberg Reports.]]><![CDATA[Puppies Rescued From NJ Hoarder Adopted]]>Wed, 22 Jun 2016 16:54:44 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dogsthumbnail_SN.jpgAll dogs rescued from hoarders in Howell, New Jersey, that were available for adoption have found their forever homes, St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center said.]]><![CDATA[News Anchor Apologizes to Dog He Saw in Hot Car]]>Tue, 14 Jun 2016 17:34:59 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Kyle-Clark-cropped.jpg

Kyle Clark, a news anchor in Denver, made an impassioned apology to a furry member of the local community during a recent broadcast.

While grabbing lunch, Clark heard a dog loudly crying in a locked Honda CR-V on a 90-degree day. In a video of his broadcast posted to his Facebook page, Clark said he nearly resorted to throwing a rock through the car window to help the clearly distressed dog. He said the animal's cries could be heard from across the parking lot.

"Do you know how hot it is in 90 degree sun when you're wearing a suit, or fur, in a car? I'm guessing you don't or you don't care," said Clark, who works for NBC affiliate KUSA.

Deciding against breaking a window, Clark instead called the Denver 311 help center. While he was on hold, the dog's owner finally returned from the nearby frozen yogurt shop. However, Clark said the person "blew him off" and "basically laughed" when he warned the person against leaving the dog in a hot car.

"There's an apology in order, not for you, no, for your dog," Clark said. "I am sorry that your dog does not have better humans."

The American Veterinary Medical Association warns that hundred of pets die every year from heat exhaustion after being left in cars on warm days. Dogs are particularly susceptible to the heat because their primary method of cooling is panting, which is not as efficient as sweating. The organization writes on its website that parked vehicle temperatures can rise by almost 20 degrees in just 10 minutes and continue to rise over time-- even if the windows are cracked.

Photo Credit: KUSA]]>
<![CDATA[Hero Dogs: More Than Best Friends]]>Wed, 08 Jun 2016 09:41:52 -0400 Read more here.]]> Read more here.]]>https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-123974845-brittany.jpg

Photo Credit: Charlotte Dumas/Barcroft Media via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hardly a Dog's Life for First Pets Bo & Sunny]]>Sun, 29 May 2016 17:46:15 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_851780932641.jpg

It's hardly a dog's life of just eating and sleeping for President Barack Obama's pets, Bo and Sunny.

The pair of Portuguese water dogs — Bo with his distinctive white chest and front paws, and the all-black Sunny — are canine ambassadors for the White House, very popular and so in demand that they have schedules, like the president.

"Everybody wants to see them and take pictures," Michelle Obama said. "I get a memo at the beginning of the month with a request for their schedules, and I have to approve their appearances."

The dogs have entertained crowds at the annual Easter Egg Roll and Bo has been at Mrs. Obama's side when she welcomes tourists on the anniversary of the president's inauguration. The dogs also have cheered wounded service members, as well as the hospitalized children the first lady visits each year just before Christmas. In a sign of just how recognized Bo and Sunny are, authorities in January arrested a North Dakota man who they say came to Washington to kidnap one of the pets.

Bo, now 7, joined the Obama family in April 2009. He was a gift from the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., a key supporter of Obama's 2008 presidential campaign who became close to the family. Bo helped Obama keep a promise to daughters Malia and Sasha that they could get a dog after the election.

Sunny, nearly 4, came along in August 2013.

Bo already had a job as a "helper" to Dale Haney, the head groundskeeper at the White House, which happens to be a national park.

"He leaves every morning and he goes down with Dale ... and he's with all the National Park Service guys. And you'll see him, and he's like walking around with them, and looking at the plants," Mrs. Obama said. "I think he thinks he has a job because he takes it very seriously. So if I go out and see him, he kind of ignores me when he's with his worker crew people."

The dogs have a pretty nice life. "They can sit on my lap, they sit on my chair, they cuddle with me," Mrs. Obama said. "I like to lay on the floor with them and blow in their face. I like to make them run and chase each other. But they're so cute, I just love to just cuddle them and massage them."

Presidential pets are always popular and many presidents kept dogs as companions. President Harry S. Truman famously advised: "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."

President George H.W. Bush's English Springer Spaniel, Millie, "wrote" the best-seller "Millie's Book."

President Bill Clinton's chocolate Labrador Retriever, Buddy, helped Clinton weather the scandal over his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

President George W. Bush's Scottish Terrier, Barney, had an official web page and starred in "Barneycam" videos that were filmed from a camera hung around his neck. Like Mrs. Obama, first lady Laura Bush was involved with the video scripts and the taping schedule.

President Lyndon B. Johnson angered animal lovers by lifting his pet beagle, Him, by the ears in front of news photographers.

Obama promised last year to "clean things up a little bit" before leaving the White House in January because the dogs "have been tearing things up occasionally."

Mrs. Obama said her four-legged family members had been nice overall, but she exposed Sunny's naughtier side.

"You know what she does sometimes? She leaves the kitchen and she'll sneak and she'll go poop on the other end of the White House," the first lady said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[New Dog Meds to Curb Dogs' Noise-Related Anxiety]]>Thu, 06 Jul 2017 22:17:28 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_16137623735677-zoetis-dog-anxiety-medicine.jpg

Fido and Spot may not have to cower under the bed this summer when fireworks and thunderstorms hit.

The first prescription veterinary medicine for treating anxiety over loud noises — a widespread problem that can send dogs running away in terror and harm both themselves and property — will soon hit the market.

Veterinary medicine maker Zoetis Inc. of Florham Park, New Jersey, said Monday that recently approved Sileo will be available through veterinarians within a week.

Dr. Chris Pachel, a veterinary behaviorist at the Animal Behavior Clinic in Portland, Oregon, welcomes a medicine tested specifically on dogs that works rapidly but wears off within hours — like by the time a thunderstorm is over.

Dogs are now treated with medicines designed for their human owners or behavioral training, which can be ineffective or come with side effects.

"There's always a need for new options," said Pachel, who has reviewed some testing data on Sileo but isn't affiliated with Zoetis.

Fear of loud noises is a common problem for the 70 million dogs in the U.S. and their owners. Dogs are sometimes so frightened they jump through windows, destroy doors while trying to escape a room or run into traffic and get hit by cars. July 5 is the most common day for frustrated pet owners to drop a dog off at a shelter, according to a Zoetis study.

"I have seen the absolutely worst things that can happen with noise anxiety," Dr. J. Michael McFarland, head of U.S. pet marketing at Zoetis, who formerly worked at multiple animal hospitals.

Current treatments range from human anti-anxiety pills such as Xanax and tranquilizers that sedate dogs for many hours, but don't necessarily calm them, to behavioral treatments. Those include confining the dog to a small room or portable kennel, or trying to desensitize dogs by repeatedly exposing them to increasingly loud noise.

Pachel said those treatments or combinations of them work for many dogs, but the tranquilizers can take days to wear off and anti-anxiety pills — many only tested on people — can cause appetite problems, upset stomach and, rarely, abnormal heartbeats if the dose isn't right.

Sileo works by blocking norepinephrine, a brain chemical similar to adrenaline that pumps up anxiety. It comes in prefilled plastic syringes with a dial for setting a precise dose according to the dog's weight.

The needleless syringe is placed between the dog's gum and lip. A little push ejects a small amount of gel that's absorbed by the tissue lining the dog's cheek, which limits how much circulates in the dog's body at a time while enabling the medicine to start working within 30 to 60 minutes. It works for two to three hours, said McFarland, who said he has used Sileo with good results on his Finnish Lapphund.

Each syringe costs $30 and holds enough medicine for about two doses for an 80- to 100-pound dog or four doses for a 40-pound dog.

Dr. Barbara Sherman, a professor at North Carolina State University who runs its animal behavioral medicine clinic, reviewed detailed data on Sileo while serving on an advisory board at Zoetis and found its effectiveness "impressive." She said side effects were benign and thinks that for some dogs, it will be easier to administer than pills.

Zoetis has exclusive rights to distribute Sileo in the U.S. under an agreement with its developer, Orion Corp. of Finland.

In testing conducted for the company on 182 pet beagles on New Year's Eve, 75 percent of their owners rated its effect good or excellent, compared with 33 percent whose dogs got a placebo. Side effects were rare and minor.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Zoetis via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Housebroken Bison for Sale by Texas Owner]]>Fri, 13 May 2016 16:36:59 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Bullet+the+Bison.jpg

An 8-year-old bison named Bullet has outgrown its Texas home and the owner wants to find a new place for the 1,000-pound pet to roam. 

The family posted a Craigslist ad listing Bullet as "for sale" for almost $6,000, as long as the new owner will allow the bison to continue interacting with people. Bullet's owner says the buffalo needs more space and grassland.

According to the ad, originally posted in March, Bullet is housebroken and "perfectly gentle." The post indicated that "if this ad is still showing, the buffalo is still for sale." On Friday afternoon, a link to the post displayed a message stating the post had been flagged for removal. 

"Bullet loves to chase and spar with a riding lawn mower, wheel barrow or even my truck when I'm out in the field. She will follow me when I'm in the truck. She is like a precious gigantic dog herself," the listing said.

It warns that Bullet is still a buffalo, after all, and should never be left alone in the house or with children.

The buffalo is also famous, the ad read, noting Bullet is featured in the children's book "Heaven is for Animals" by Nancy Tillman.

Bullet lives with the family in Argyle, 30 miles northwest of Dallas. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Paralyzed Dog Left at Florida Shelter With Note]]>Wed, 04 May 2016 13:48:48 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NC_paralyzeddog0504_1920x1080.jpgA Florida animal shelter is caring for a paralyzed dog named Genie after her previous owners left her at the shelter with a handwritten note, explaining that the owner could not afford to care for the small pup. "I tried to manage her pain with medication from her vet but they only ease her pain and she needs surgery. I cannot afford so I ask that the Animal Health Center heal her and find her a loving forever home. Thank you," said the note. ]]><![CDATA[Rescued Lions Explore New Home in Sanctuary]]>Tue, 03 May 2016 13:38:47 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_518985915980-lion-airlift-south-africa-sanctuaries.jpg

Lions rescued from circuses in Colombia and Peru and airlifted to South Africa scratched their manes on trees and explored their new territory in the African bush after being released into a sanctuary north of Johannesburg Sunday.

One of the 33 lions, a male known as Zeus, let out a mighty roar before stepping out of his cage into an enclosure where he will spend the coming months being monitored by a vet.

The lions arrived at the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary shortly after dawn on Sunday to end a two-day journey from South America.

The lions were freed after the use of wild animals in circuses was outlawed in Peru and Colombia.

It will be impossible for the lions to survive in the wild as they were bred in captivity and their circus owners mutilated many by breaking their teeth and removing their claws. Because they cannot hunt they will be fed game meat and will have water in their enclosures.

"They are remarkably calm after such a long journey," Tim Phillips, the co-founder of Animal Defenders International which led the rescue of the lions told The Associated Press. "It was a dream come true watching them step of those cages into their new homes in the African bush."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Wee-lief! Dogs Get Airport Bathroom of Their Own at JFK]]>Sat, 30 Apr 2016 13:29:36 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_16119780722026.jpg

Little Simba couldn't wait to check it out.

The toy poodle was one of the first dogs to try a special bathroom designated just for animals at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, among a growing number of "pet relief facilities" being installed at major air hubs across the nation.

"There's a fire hydrant in there!" Simba's owner, Heidi Liddell, announced as she opened the pawprint-marked door between the men's and women's rooms.

It didn't take long for the dog to sidle up to the little red hydrant atop a patch of artificial turf and do her business. A dispenser of plastic doggie bags and a hose was provided for the owners to clean the area up for the next pet.

The 70-square-foot room, at JFK's sprawling Terminal 4, allows dogs and other animals to relieve themselves without needing to exit the building to find a place to go outside — a step that requires an annoying second trip through the security line.

"We had seen an increase of passengers traveling with pets and we decided to do it sooner rather than later," said Susana Cunha, vice president of the management company that operates the terminal.

Guide and service dogs, emotional support animals and other pets traveling with passengers are all welcome to use the facilities.

A federal regulation will require that all airports that service over 10,000 passengers per year install a pet relief area in every terminal by this August. Airports that already have them include Dulles International outside Washington D.C., Chicago's O'Hare and Seattle-Tacoma International.

"With long flights and short transit time frames, passengers would not have enough time with plane changes to come back through security," said Karen Greis, a consumer services manager for the Guide Dog Foundation, a nonprofit that trains service dogs and participated in the design of the new facility. "Having relief areas inside the terminal is a stress reliever for the handlers."

That was certainly the case for Taylor Robbins, who had already missed one flight from JFK to Atlanta and was unsure if she had enough time to go back outside to find a place to walk her terrier John John.

"It's really clean, it gets the job done and he seemed to understand he could use it," she said after exiting the doggie restroom. "Without this he would have had to hold it in."

Other pet owners were encouraged by the convenience.

Mark Shadowens, from Lake Tahoe, California, peered into the new facility with a smile. He said he and his wife Helen would love to travel with their Jack Russell terrier, Bella, but fears not being able to find a place to let her go to the bathroom.

"We travel with our pet a lot, just not on airlines," Shadowens said. "We like to go see the world and I think we would bring her if there were places like this."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Bridge-Running Dog Adopted]]>Fri, 29 Apr 2016 02:19:28 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/BayBridgeDog.jpg

Ponch, the stray Chihuahua who captured hearts around the nation after he sprinted across the Bay Bridge early this month, has finally found a home. 

After being rescued by California Highway Patrol April 3, Ponch went to stay with a foster family connected to San Francisco County's animal services department. His caretakers waited several weeks to see if someone would come forward and claim ownership – Ponch had a collar with a skull dangling from it when he was captured – but no one stepped up.

Instead, offers from animal lovers all over the world came flooding in, asking if it would be possible to give the 10-pound Chihuahua a new home. Animal Care and Control conducted several interviews, according to the department, before settling on a suitable family for Ponch. He was scheduled to go home Thursday, after his rescuers have a chance to bid him farewell.

“Taking into consideration that Ponch is a nervous fellow who loves to run, his new home and family are perfectly suited to give him the happily-ever-after life,” Animal Care and Control said in a statement. The family adopting him wishes to remain anonymous.

Ponch’s story went viral following an early morning police chase that resulted in a short shutdown of the Bay Bridge. The pup, who was visibly frightened, was darting across lanes of traffic.

The California Highway Patrol officers involved in his rescue nicknamed the pup “Ponch,” after Erik Estrada’s character in the 1970s TV hit “CHIPS.”

“We’re happy that Ponch’s story has ended with a loving new home”, says Animal Care & Control Executive Director Virginia Donohue. “We’re grateful for all of the good will Ponch has generated for shelter dogs.”

Photo Credit: CHP San Francisco
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Biker Dog in UK Gets His Own Yellow Kevlar Coat]]>Thu, 28 Apr 2016 09:45:54 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kevlardog.jpgBiker Steve Hawley wanted to share his favorite hobby with his dog and bought a yellow kevlar coat for the Labrador, Renee. Kevlar is an ultra-tough synthetic material designed for the toughest tasks; it's regularly used in motorcycle clothing when leather is not convenient.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Kitten Stars of 'Keanu' in Hollywood Spotlight]]>Thu, 28 Apr 2016 07:09:47 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/212*120/KNU-FP-001.jpg

Anyone who's spent time with a cat might agree with filmmaker Peter Atencio when he says cats are the "15-year-olds of the animal kingdom."

Dogs are eager to please their owners. Cats couldn't care less.

But the kittens that play the title tabby in the new action-comedy "Keanu" impressed their human co-stars so much, they've earned permanent places in Hollywood.

"They blew away my expectations," said Atencio, director of "Keanu" and a self-described "crazy cat man" who has three cats, two dogs and a rabbit at home. "They took direction really well."

"Keanu," in theaters Friday, tells the story of Clarence and Rell ("Key & Peele" stars Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele), two mild-mannered guys who pretend to be killer criminals after a gang of thugs steals Rell's kitten, Keanu. The gangsters want to keep the kitten — now wearing gold chains and a tiny do-rag — but Clarence and Rell will do anything, including embracing their inner tough-guys, to get him back.

Seven brown tabbies, all rescued from animal shelters, played Keanu. Trainer Larry Payne said animal roles generally require multiple actors (or, in this case, cat-ctors), as each has its own personality traits that contribute to the onscreen character.

Some kittens are better at hitting marks, for example, while others are particularly skilled at sitting still and being adorable.

"There's the run guy, there's the snuggle guy, there's the meow guy," Key said.

"It's like assembling a team of bank-robbers," Atencio added.

Payne initially trained three kittens to play Keanu, but they aged out halfway through production.

"(They) had gotten big and not really kitten-like anymore," he explained.

He adopted four more kittens to finish the film. All were about eight weeks old when they began their monthlong training.

Besides learning the skills they'd need for their scenes — sit, stay, go from one mark to another — the Keanus had to get used to the noise and commotion of a movie set. Loud sounds typically make cats run and hide.

"It's a little bit easier with the kittens, believe it or not, than with adult cats, because I don't think they know any better," said Payne, who trains all kinds of animals for film and TV roles. "The kittens almost think, 'This is what all kittens do: We work on movies!'"

Payne plied the kitties with treats during training. Repetition and positive reinforcement are key, he said. He uses off-camera buzzers or clickers — which signify food is coming — to summon the cats to their marks.

He also used treats to get them to tolerate the dozen or so costumes Keanu wears. Rell dresses his pet in a little fedora, goggles, a leather jacket, a hoodie and sunglasses, among other things.

When the kittens weren't on screen, they hung out in miniature star trailers: deluxe animal carriers decked out with beds, toys and water. When filming on location in New Orleans, all seven Keanus stayed with Payne in his hotel suite.

Peele, who co-wrote "Keanu," said a cat-napped kitten wasn't part of the film's original premise. He and co-writer Alex Rubens knew the main characters and their squares-in-gangland dilemma, but "it didn't feel like we had something that really justified why we would put ourselves in danger," Peele said. "That's where the kitten came in."

Though he has a dog who sometimes wears outfits ("We got a Burberry outfit and we do have a little beach hoodie. It goes deep."), Peele said they made Keanu a kitten because "we realized there's not a lot of kitten movies."

Payne, too, said he "never had the pleasure of doing an entire kitten movie" in his 30-year career.

Atencio would do one again, saying, "I would love to do a kitten-based horror or thriller."

Maybe he'll call on the kittens formerly known as Keanu? All the film's feline stars are staying in Hollywood. Though one went home with "Keanu" co-star Tiffany Haddish to become a housecat, Payne said the others will continue to act.

He and his colleague, April Mackin, each took two kittens home, and the remaining two live at the California ranch where Payne keeps his menagerie of acting animals.

"The fact that I was able to acclimate them to a movie-set environment when they were real young, they become valuable for us for the future to do that work," he said. "They're provided a great home. We have on-staff vets. And they're very spoiled, much like a normal star would be."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Helps Save Kids From Fire]]>Thu, 28 Apr 2016 12:08:13 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/maxx2.jpg

A German shepherd helped firefighters find his owners' two young children as flames ripped through the family's central Florida home, authorities said.

The dog, named Maxx, helped crews navigate through thick smoke to find the 4-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl Monday night in their burning home in the Orlando suburb of Longwood, according to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

Moments earlier, neighbors who saw the fire spreading called 911, broke windows and helped rescue the children's mother, Margo Feaser, a 12-year veteran of the sheriff's office who currently serves as an auto theft investigator.

Firefighters then were able to rescue Feaser's husband and the two children, with Maxx's help.

Family members were hospitalized and their conditions ranged from serious to critical. Maxx was treated for smoke inhalation and is said to be doing well.

A GoFundMe page has been established to help the family's medical, veterinary, and other housing expenses as they work to recover from the effects of the fire. As of Wednesday morning, more than $11,000 had been raised to help the Feaser family.

In addition to her role with the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, Feaser served three years in the U.S. Army and is a member of the Army National Guard. Her husband is also a military veteran.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Seminole County Fire Department
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Dogs Hate Being Hugged: Pet Behaviorist]]>Tue, 26 Apr 2016 13:50:29 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-522796761-%281%29.jpg

Most people treat their dogs like family, giving them big, all-encompassing hugs.  

But a new article in Psychology Today says dogs are actually stressed out by this sort of affection. Canine behaviorist Stanley Coren writes that when dogs get hugged, they interpret it differently than humans. 

Signs of stress include a dog turning his head away from whatever is bothering him and closing his eyes. Lowered or slicked-back ears are also a sign or stress, according to Coren. 

But, this doesn't mean you can't love your pup. Coren suggests expressing your affection toward your pet "with a pat, a kind word, and maybe a treat."

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Hero Images]]>
<![CDATA[Orphaned Puppy Adopted Into Litter of Kittens]]>Tue, 26 Apr 2016 13:35:46 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cat-adopts-puppy.jpg

Families can come in all shapes, sizes and species.

Such is the case with Bobby, a tiny Chihuahua who found himself alone at 5 days old when his mother was struck by a car.

A passerby found him on the side of the road and brought Bobby to Michigan Humane Society, where volunteers struggled to give him the care he needed.

He was too young for solid food and required constant attention.

"The calories and nutrition to keep him healthy and growing need to come from his mom. Bottle feeding can be inconsistent, laborious, and risky, even for those that have the resources and time to do so," the humane society wrote on its website.

But there was one problem. There were no nursing dogs at the shelter.

"They had a mom cat that was recently still nursing and they thought — ingenious idea — to maybe see if this puppy could go along with these guys and see if mommy cat could treat him like one of her own," said humane society employee Faith O'Georgia. "And it actually worked."

Now 5 weeks old, Bobby has several feline siblings, including one small kitten who follows him around.

"You think about Mother Nature and how cats and dogs aren’t supposed to like each other but as we all know at the Michigan Humane Society that’s not always the case and this is certainly an extreme example of that," said Ryan McTigue with the humane society.

Bobby will move to a foster home with other dogs when he's old enough to eat solid food.

Photo Credit: Michigan Humane Society
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Presidential Pets Through the Years]]>Fri, 16 Aug 2019 10:59:16 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/ap_940319058.jpgA range of dogs and cats have kept presidential families company through their stay in Washington, including Fala, Franklin D. Roosevelt's Scottish terrier; Socks, the Clintons' cat; and Bo and Sunny, the Obamas' Portuguese water dogs. Take a look back at the pets that have called the White House home.

<![CDATA[Animal Shelter Opens a Pet Gym in Kentucky ]]>Tue, 19 Apr 2016 11:54:48 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/petgym.jpgAn animal shelter in Kentucky started a pet gym as a way to fund the rescue shelter, but they found they were helping pet owners fill a need -- better exercising obese pets.

Photo Credit: WAVE]]>
<![CDATA[Shelter Selfies: Show Off Your New Pet]]>Sun, 16 Aug 2015 09:34:40 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/197*120/Deputy+Dog.JPG

Across the country, animal lovers are helping pets in shelters find a new forever home.  Did you get a new best friend on #ClearTheShelters day? If so, show off your newest family member. Post a picture to Twitter or Instagram with the #ClearTheShelters hashtag, and we might highlight it right here. 

Now check out all of these other cute pets - animals that were either adopted as part of Clear the Shelters, or are joining the effort to get others adopted:

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Thousands of Pets Adopted as We #ClearTheShelters]]>Mon, 17 Aug 2015 17:13:47 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/CTS-live.JPG

More than 17,000 furry friends around the U.S. were given forever homes by Saturday during Clear the Shelters Day, an initiative by NBC-owned stations to help get cats and dogs waiting for new homes successfully adopted.  More than 1,000 pets were adopted in the tri-state area thanks to generosity of NBC 4 New York viewers.

Palma and her two teenage daughters, Palma and Althea, got to the SPCA of Westchester just before 7 a.m. in search of a new dog. That's actually pretty late compared to some people, who arrived around 1:30 a.m. to secure their spot in line. 

The three picked up a new Labrador mix by late morning. The puppy was given the name Snack, but they said they're thinking about renaming him Bow.

"He seemed to be sweet and friendly," Althea said.

"This is a great place, they do great things," the mom said. "This is a great opportunity to clear the shelters for the summer." 

Ellen, Len and their teenage son Eric were at the SPCA of Westchester on Saturday morning too. They found a dark brown puppy to take home and named him Kona, after the coffee.

"It connected with us," Len said. "The dog seemed to connect with my son." 

The three were looking for a new dog after their last one died three years ago. Ellen said the family has over an acre of land, which should be perfect for the energetic puppy and her son to run around in.

"We thought it was the perfect opportunity for us to help ourselves and help the dog," Len said.

The two puppies were two of thousands of dogs and cats available today as part of Clear the Shelters, sponsored by 11 NBC owned television stations, the New England regional news network necn, and 17 Telemundo owned stations. More than 400 shelters are participating, many offering the animals at a reduced price.

With the cost of adoption up to $450 in some cities, many families cannot otherwise afford a new pet, said Valari Staab, president of NBC Universal-Owned Television Stations.

Several shelters in Dallas had been "cleared" by Saturday afternoon, according to NBC DFW. In Maryland, a pot-bellied pig named Channing Tatum was headed for a new home, the Humane Society of Calvert County tweeted.

“He’s very laid back,” Debbie Samler, an adoption counselor at the site, said of the pig. “He likes people.”

MSPCA-Angell, in Massachusetts, also had guinea pigs, a domestic rat, a grey macaw and a chinchilla ready for new homes Saturday. In Los Angeles, the West LA Animal Care Center had already given three rabbits homes shortly after opening its doors. Bunnies were available for adoption in Texas, as well as in the San Francisco Bay area and Voorhees, New Jersey.

About 7.6 million animals enter shelters across the country each year, 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Each year an equal number are adopted or euthanized, about 2.7 million for each case. About 649,000 strays are returned to their owners, the majority of them dogs.

Clear the Shelters began in North Texas as a partnership among NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth / KXAS, Telemundo 39 Dallas-Fort Worth / KXTX and dozens of North Texas animal shelters. More than 2,200 homeless animals were adopted in 2014, the most in a single day in North Texas.

Please refer the list below to help identify a participating shelter in your area:

New York CIty:


Animal Care of New York City
326 East 110th Street, New York, NY 10029

Animal Care of New York City-Mobile Adoption Manhattan
2475 Broadway at 92nd Street, New York, NY

K9 Kastle
Whiskers Pet Store 235 East 9th St, New York, NY 10003

ASPCA - Shelter
424 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128

ASPCA Adoption Truck
2475 Broadway at 92nd Street, New York, NY

Animal Haven
251 Centre St, New York, NY 10013


Second Chance Rescue Inc.
191-11 Northern Boulevard, Flushing NY 11358


Animal Care of New York City- Mobile Adoption Bronx
Joyce Kilmer Park, Walton Ave., Bronx, NY 10452


Animal Care & Control of New York City - Brooklyn
2336 Linden Boulevard Brooklyn, NY 11208

Staten Island 

Staten Island Hope Animal Rescue
1294 Forest Avenue Staten Island 10302

Animal Care & Control of New York City - Staten Island
3139 Veterans Road West Staten Island, NY 10309

Feline Rescue of Staten Island
Pet Supplies Plus- 965 Richmond Ave, Staten Island, New York 10314


Adopt a Dog
23 Cox Avenue Armonk, NY 10504

Mount Vernon Animal Shelter
600 Garden Ave, Mt Vernon, NY 10550

SPCA of Westchester
590 N State Rd, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510

Orange County:

Humane Society of Port Jervis/Deerpark
202 RT 209, Port Jervis, NY 12771

Warwick Valley Humane Society
48 Public Works Rd, Warwick, NY 10990

Rockland County:

Hi Tor Animal Care Center
65 Firemen's Memorial Dr. Pomona, NY 10970

New Jersey:

Bergen County

Bergen County Animal Services
100 United Lane Teterboro, New Jersey 07608

Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge, Inc.
2 Shelter Lane Oakland, NJ 07436


Burlington County Animal Shelter
35 Academy Drive Westampton, NJ 08060

Essex County

Montclair Township Animal Shelter
77 North Willow Street Montclair, New Jersey 07042

Associated Humane Societies - Newark
124 Evergreen Ave, Newark, NJ 07114

Mercer County

SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals
900 Herrontown Rd, Princeton, NJ 08540

Hudson County

Secaucus Animal Shelter
525 Meadowlands Parkway Secaucus, NJ 07094 

Liberty Humane Society
235 Jersey City Blvd, Jersey City, NJ 07305

Monmouth County

Associated Humane Societies - Tinton Falls
2960 Shafto Rd, Tinton Falls, NJ 07753

Middlesex County

Happy Homes Animal Rescue
**Event will be taking place in Parking Lot**
Edison - 283
1029 US Route 1 South, Edison, NJ



Animal Control Center of Stamford
201 Magee Ave, Stamford, CT 06902

PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society)
504 Main Ave, Norwalk, CT 06851

SPCA of Connecticut
359 Spring Hill Monroe, CT 06468-2100

Long Island:

Suffolk County

Town of Brookhaven Animal Shelter & Adoption Center
300 Horseblock Road, Brookhaven, NY 11719

RSVP Inc. Animal Welfare and Rescue Group
The Maples-10 Ryerson Ave, Manorville, NY 11949

Town of Smithtown Animal Shelter
410 East Main Street, Smithtown, NY 11787

North Fork Animal Welfare League - Southold
165 Peconic Lane Peconic, NY 11958

North Fork Animal Welfare League - Riverhead
532 Youngs Avenue Calverton, NY 11933

Southampton Animal Shelter
102 Old Riverhead Rd W, Hampton Bays, NY 11946

Friends of Freddie Pet Rescue
206 Middle County Road, Middle Island, NY 11953

Town of Babylon Animal Shelter
51 Lamar St, West Babylon, NY 11704

Nassau County 

North Shore Animal League
25 Davis Avenue, Port Washington, NY 11050

Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter
3320 Beltagh Ave, Wantagh, NY 11793

Patricia H. Ladew Foundation
34 Hamilton Ave, Oyster Bay, NY 11771

Posh Pets Rescue Long Beach
770 Park Place, Long Beach NY

All About Spay Neuter Inc.
4209 Merrick Road, Massapequa, NY 11758




This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Mother and Daughters Pick up Lab Mix During #ClearTheShelters]]>Sat, 15 Aug 2015 12:00:51 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/black+lab+adoption.jpgJacque Reid talks with a family who just adopted Snack, a Labrador Retriever mix, as part of Clear the Shelters! The mother and her two teen daughters said they arrived before 7 a.m. to make sure they found the right pooch.]]><![CDATA[Your Rescue Pets]]>Fri, 28 Jul 2017 13:17:30 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bruce+madison+gallery.jpgNBC 4 New York and Telemundo 47 are joining with shelters in the region to clear the shelters and get animals permanent and loving homes. These are the photos NBC 4 New York viewers have sent of their rescue pets!

Photo Credit: Bruce Beck]]>
<![CDATA[Your Pet Adoption Checklist ]]>Mon, 17 Aug 2015 11:54:16 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/PetAdoption.jpg

The following content is created in consultation with Overstock.com. It does not reflect the work or opinions of NBC New York’s editorial staff. To learn more about Overstock.com, visit Overstock.com.

Adopting a pet is a wonderful decision to make. You’ll be saving an animal’s life and enriching your own in the process.

But rescuing a homeless animal is also a life-changing decision, meaning before you bring home your new four-legged friend, there are a few key things to consider.

That’s why Overstock.com is here to help. By using their technology to connect people with cats, dogs, and other pets from thousands of shelters nationwide, Overstock is helping the lives of homeless and abandoned animals in an effort to make the world a better place. Find you perfect pet by searching local listings right here!

To get you prepped on becoming a pet owner, Overstock has put together their animal adoption checklist. Read on for eight helpful tips, from the type of process you can expect to how to best prepare your home for your new family member’s arrival.

Decide What Pet Fits Your Lifestyle
Pets require time, space and patience (not to mention lots of love!). So before rushing to adopt an animal, you’ll want to consider what types of pets fit your lifestyle. Do a quick inventory of your life and consider the following: Do you live in a house with a backyard or in a small apartment? Do you work long hours and travel frequently? Are you looking for an energetic animal or one that’s content to curl up in your lap? Understanding your own lifestyle will help inform your pet adopting decision and make you a better owner.

Consider the Cost
Dog and cat owners can anticipate spending over $1,000 annually caring for their pets, so it’s critical to consider your budget before adopting a homeless animal. From toys and treats to walkers and vaccinations, ensuring your four-legged friend is happy and healthy will undoubtedly add up. Before you select an animal for adoption, write up a budget to see what you can afford as an animal’s age, size and breed, and sometimes even your own location, will affect overhead.

Meet the Pets and a Counselor
Adopting a pet should never be a rushed process. Most shelters allow you to spend time with their animals, so get to know a variety of them before reaching your decision. How you bond with an animal will be key to your success as their owner. If available, also meet with a pet counselor, who can help you find an animal best suited to your needs.

Prepare Your Home for a New Family Member
Once you’ve selected what dog, cat, or other animal you’ll be adopting, you’ll want to prepare your home for their arrival. Successful pet adoption starts with proper care, so make sure you stock up on things like food, toys and bedding, plus animal-specific features like litter boxes and leashes. Giving your pet the right supplies will help them acclimate to their new surroundings.

Get Ready for Paperwork
While you’ll want to adopt the right pet, shelters will likewise want to ensure that their animals will be provided with a good home. Expect to fill out significant paperwork, and come prepared with all the documentation the shelter requires, from a picture ID to rental agreements that allow pets.

Don’t Forget the Vet!
The majority of animals will come with the proper vaccinations and already be neutered to prevent overpopulation (a problem that plagues shelters nationwide), but make sure to ask these questions first. Some animals will require additional medical needs, from daily medications to frequent visits to the vet, while any pet that has yet to be neutered should get fixed asap.

Maintain a Structure
You’ll want to maintain a routine with your new pet. Find out what brand of food they ate and when they ate it, then stick to a similar feeding schedule for the first few weeks. Cats will appreciate the same litter, too, while dogs respond well to a consistency in commands (for example, decide whether “down” meets "sit" or "get off the couch"). Once they’ve adapted to their new home, you can start making a transition to things like different pet foods.

Practice Patience
Pets are lovely, loyal creatures, but they may need time to adapt to their new surroundings. Give them time to integrate with family members and any other household animals and you’ll enjoy a rewarding friendship.

To adopt a pet in your area, visit overstock.com/overstock-pets.   

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Frostbitten Duck Gets New Feet, Thanks to 3-D Printer]]>Mon, 18 Apr 2016 15:53:13 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Duck-Feet-Lon-NR-146100462528100001.jpg

A duck that lost its feet to frostbite is waddling again thanks to a Wisconsin middle school teacher and a 3-D printer. 

Vicki Rabe-Harrison rescued Phillip the duck and, after watching a video of a 3-D printer online, turned to South Park Middle School teacher Jason Jischke in Oshkosh for help. 

Rabe-Harrison told Green Bay television station WBAY she assessed Phillip's quality of life and was planning to put him down when Jischke called to say he and his class were working on the project. It took them six weeks of trial and error to get the prosthetic feet just right. 

Phillip was a bit wobbly when he first tested his new feet, but he has now joined other birds and animals at a sanctuary in Cedarburg, 20 miles north of Milwaukee.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

<![CDATA[Playful Polar Bear Cub Debuts at Ohio Zoo]]>Mon, 18 Apr 2016 11:07:02 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Screen+Shot+2016-04-18+at+9.09.52+AM.png

A 5-month-old female polar bear cub has made quite a playful debut at an Ohio zoo.

The cub born in early November frolicked around her enclosure Friday at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and even got an orange traffic cone stuck on her head for a moment.

About 1,000 people lined up to get the first glimpses of the polar bear, named Nora. The cub provided a lot of entertainment and laughter as she swam and bounded around her enclosure.

The cub's twin died shortly after birth, and she has been hand-reared since her mother began neglecting her.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

<![CDATA[PD Seeks to Charge Over Ditched Pup]]>Fri, 15 Apr 2016 21:45:00 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/041516_puppyrescue.jpg

The owner of an abandoned 8-week-old pit bull could face charges after admitting he left the puppy on the side of the road earlier this week, according to police in Littleton, Massachusetts.

Police said a hearing for a criminal complaint has been submitted against the owner.

The puppy was found in good health by a motorist and his daughter. The two found the dog wandering around Nashoba Road on Tuesday, where they then flagged down Sgt. David Leslie, who was patrolling the area at the time. The dog was brought to Littleton's Animal Control Officer Phyllis Tower.

Arrangements are being made to put the dog up for adoption.

"The puppy was found in good health and has been placed in safe care until we can find it a forever home," Chief Matthew J. King said in a statement.

Photo Credit: Littleton Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Turns Her House Into Cat Sanctuary, Moves Into Trailer]]>Thu, 28 Apr 2016 10:56:28 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/CatLady-GIF.gif

It started with a few kittens. But nearly a quarter century later, a California woman has transformed her 4,000-square-foot home into what's believed to be the largest no-cage cat sanctuary and adoption center in the U.S.

An estimated 24,000 cats have been saved by the sanctuary, which houses up to 1,000 felines at any given time. Lynea Lattanzio set up Cat House on the Kings after finding out that many nearby shelters euthanize cats who aren't adopted.

As more feral and abandoned cats took up residence in her home, she moved out into a trailer on her 12-acre property.

Lattanzio spent her entire retirement fund on her pet project, which also relies on donations.

"If I didn't have to deal with humans and all their drama in life, I would be perfectly content just taking care of cats," she said.

She now has staff and a team of volunteers to keep the house clean and the cats fed. The sanctuary also employs veterinarians who keep the cats healthy and spayed or neutered. The cats lap up about 1,000 cans of cat food a week.

People looking for a furry companion are allowed kitty cuddle time on adoption days.

A cat-proof fence keeps predators out and cat doors allow them free reign of the home.

"They've got this house. They've got 12 acres. They can climb a tree. They can go sit in the sun outside," Lattanzio said. "It just gives these animals a reason to live as opposed to just living in a cage just because no one wants them."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[New Zoo Exhibit Puts Visitors Nose to Beak With Penguins]]>Fri, 15 Apr 2016 10:51:34 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/PenguinDetroitGIF.gif

A new penguin habitat that the Detroit Zoo calls the world's largest such facility offers its 80-plus residents new rocks for climbing, waves, snow and better ice conditions, while allowing visitors to come nose to beak with the stately birds.

A preview Wednesday showed off the $30 million Polk Penguin Conservation Center, which features an underwater gallery and two acrylic tunnels where visitors can watch four species of penguins swim above, around and below them.

Zoo officials say it's designed to simulate the penguins' native habitat, including optimal air and water temperatures. Zoo CEO Ron Kagan, who made multiple research trips to Antarctica, says the penguins can "do the polar plunge" in the 25-foot-deep aquatic area.

"This is so new, they're still learning this new environment," Kagan said in an interview. "They've never been able to dive this kind of depth. They've never had this kind of opportunity for ice and snow."

Sixty-nine penguins — gentoos, macaronis and rockhoppers — have marched over to their new home, which opens to the public on Monday. Fourteen king penguins will arrive in a bit.

The 33,000-square-foot Polk Center is situated on two acres. In addition to the 326,000-gallon swimming pool, the new inhabitants also have the option of spending time chilling in their spacious above-ground abode that includes expansive windows that allow visitors to see in — and the penguins to see out.

The environment is intended to encourage the same kind of behavior as in the wild, from leaping in and out of the water to nesting and rearing young.

"We've had penguins at the Detroit Zoo for many years, so we know how to feed penguins and keep them healthy," said Scott Carter, the zoo's chief life sciences officer. "What we wanted to make sure we could do here was make sure that we could create an environment in which penguins could really be happy, in which penguins could thrive."

The center's design, inspired by the harsh climate of Antarctica, features an exterior that resembles a towering iceberg with a crevasse and waterfall.

It's "the biggest project that the Detroit Zoo has ever undertaken" Kagan said. A $10 million donation from the Polk Family Fund is the largest gift in the zoo's 88-year history.

The center is free with Detroit Zoo admission, but requires timed-entry passes that are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Great Dane Gets Stuck in Tree]]>Thu, 14 Apr 2016 13:40:51 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/DaneinTree.jpgKora, a 120-pound Great Dane who was stuck 20 feet up a tree in Louisville, Nebraska, was rescued Saturday night by the local fire department.

Photo Credit: WOWT]]>
<![CDATA['Inky' the Octopus Escapes New Zealand Aquarium]]>Thu, 14 Apr 2016 18:48:14 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Inky-AP_287185602729.jpg

Inky the octopus waited until it was dark and the staff had gone home from the National Aquarium of New Zealand before making his move. 

He squeezed and pushed his way through a tiny gap in the mesh at the top of his tank and slithered 2 meters (6.6 feet) to the floor. Then he made a beeline across the room to a drain hole. 

With a body the size of a rugby ball, Inky managed to stretch out and squeeze into the hole. From there, he shimmied down the 50-meter (164-foot) pipe until he was back in the Pacific Ocean.

All he left behind three months ago was a slimy trail, allowing staff at the Napier aquarium to re-create his amazing escape. 

He's not been seen since. 

Inky's story begins on Pania Reef, several hundred yards (meters) out to sea from the aquarium. He was pulled up by a fisherman in a lobster pot and wasn't in good shape. He'd been attacked, probably by a snapper or some other fish, and a couple of his tentacles were half their normal length. 

After a year recuperating at the National Aquarium, said manager Rob Yarrall, Inky was once again in good health. And he'd been delighting the staff with his intelligence. 

"He used to come up and you could hand-feed him," Yarrall said. "He'd grab hold of you with the suckers on his tentacles, or squirt water at you. And he worked out how to screw the top off a jar." 

Yarrall said that since they have no bones, octopuses can squeeze through almost any hole that's larger than their beaks, so the drain hole, 15 centimeters (6 inches) wide, was no great challenge.

After Inky escaped, the aquarium staff figured out what happened, admired his cleverness, wished him the best and went back to work. No one thought to publicize the story until Robyn McLean, communications manager for the Napier City Council, heard about what happened this week. She told a local reporter, and before long she and her small staff had fielded more than 100 calls from international media. 

"It shows how we should never take animals for granted," McLean said. "The humble octopus is a very, very intelligent creature. He thought this one out and he nailed it. So, go Inky."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: The National Aquarium of New Zealand via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Runaway Calf Befriends Blind Cow Who Lost Pig Pal]]>Wed, 13 Apr 2016 19:24:19 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/12472334_962445667175962_1075988760580106634_n.jpg

A calf that spent several days on the loose in Massachusetts is the new companion of a blind cow left heartbroken when it lost its playmate of eight years, a spotted pig, according to their caregiver.

The calf was brought on Tuesday to Don't Forget Us Pet Us Sanctuary, in Dartmouth, the home of the blind cow, named Baby.

Baby "had never been by herself for so long. She was all alone," said Debbie Devlin, owner of Don't Forget Us Pet Us Sanctuary.

The escaped cows were destined for the slaughterhouse when they escaped last week, according to Devlin. The other two cows were hit in driving accidents, one dying immediately while the other was severely harmed and subsequently euthanized. But the calf eluded danger.

"She really became a famous escaping calf," Devlin said. "She was on her freedom run."

It was Jennifer Ferreira who originally spotted the missing calf on the side of the road, dusted in snow. Ferreira posted a photo of the missing calf on Facebook, which sparked interest in the small community, the shelter said in a Facebook post. Local news stations and the Dartmouth Police Department tracked the calf, which was eventually returned to the livestock yard, but not for long.

Jean Briggs, a supporter of the sanctuary's, saw stories about its escape and called up Devlin on Thursday to find out if she was interested in the calf. Devlin was, so Briggs used her tax refund to buy the calf from Robinson's for $450, Devlin said. She turned the calf over to the sanctuary on Tuesday.

Devlin said the timing is perfect. The cow at her shelter, named Baby, lost her companion pig, Lulu, on Sunday.

"She would walk frantically in circles, mooing away," Devlin said.

That soon changed. Within seconds of arriving at her pen, adjacent to Baby's, the corralled calf burst through the 8 foot-tall gate to be beside Baby, Devlin said, leaving the gate off its hinges.

"She ran to the blind cow and hasn't left its side," Devlin said.

Devlin has owned Baby for 10 years and the sanctuary is home to many animals that people either don't want or can't afford to keep, according to Devlin. Don't Forget Us Pet Us also has a duck with no feet, a one-eared chinchilla and more. The pig, Lulu, became Baby's companion after horses and ponies proved too aggressive for the bovine.

"It was so helpful having the pig to be able to show her when we had to move things around or make changes," Devlin said.

This duty will now likely fall on the calf that has taken to Baby, Devlin said.

The sanctuary still hasn't named the calf — Devlin said she is considering running a naming contest on the Don't Forget Us Pet Us Sanctuary Facebook page. The sanctuary also plants to raise funds for "super strong fencing" for the calf.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Courtesy Don't Forget Us Pet Us
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Coyote Found Shot Gives Birth to 5]]>Wed, 13 Apr 2016 20:03:48 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/coyote-split.jpg

First, rescuers realized the emaciated coyote they pulled from the bottom of an empty reservoir in Southern California was blind from being shot between the eyes. Then, the rescuers found the near-death animal was pregnant.

After a monthlong regimen of care, including intravenous fluids and vitamins, the coyote gave birth at an animal hospital to a litter of five healthy puppies.

Julia Di Sieno of the Animal Rescue Team in Solvang found the coyote in the reservoir after a call came into her hotline Feb. 11. The coyote was bleeding and having trouble breathing.

Di Sieno climbed down 30 feet into the stone-and-mortar reservoir and loaded the wounded animal onto a gurney. She named it Angel.

Examinations revealed Angel had been shot between the eyes, and the bullet blinded her. The coyote then likely wandered the Santa Ynez Valley north of Santa Barbara for days or weeks until she tumbled into the reservoir, Di Sieno said.

"What this animal endured is beyond comprehension," Di Sieno told the Los Angeles Times for a story Wednesday. "When she had puppies, I didn't know whether to cry in sadness or for joy."

She plans to care for the puppies until they are mature enough to be released in the surrounding mountains. Di Sieno hopes to keep Angel as a surrogate mother for young coyotes that her nonprofit rescues. But first she has to persuade the state Department of Fish and Wildlife not to euthanize it. In California, possession of a coyote is illegal unless permitted by the state.

Fish and Wildlife spokesman Andrew Hughan told the Times the agency is looking for a reasonable solution.

"The department appreciates Julia and the rescue team's efforts to save this coyote and other wildlife," he said. "We've worked closely with her over the years and appreciate her passion for rescuing imperiled wildlife."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Courtesy Animal Rescue Team]]>
<![CDATA[Cat Crosses Mexico Border in Fender]]>Wed, 13 Apr 2016 16:19:36 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Cat+under+fender.JPG

A cat that became trapped in the front fender of a car unwittingly took a trip from Mexico to Oceanside in Southern California.

The Oceanside Fire Department posted video on its Facebook page showing firefighters rescuing the cat on March 21.

The person who alerted firefighters said he drove from Mexico to his home in Oceanside — about 54 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border — apparently not knowing about the cat.

Loud meowing alerted him to the whiskered stowaway tucked beneath the vehicle.

A firefighter wearing gloves is seen in the video pulling the cat free from beneath the front fender of the car. The cat then loudly meows and tries to dart away.

Fire officials said the animal was taken to the humane society.

It wasn’t clear how the cat got beneath the bumper.

Photo Credit: Oceanside Fire Department/Facebook
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Kitten Stuck in Wall]]>Wed, 13 Apr 2016 13:34:03 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/041216+bso+saves+kitten+deerfield+beach.jpg

Firefighters have rescued a kitten that was trapped inside the wall of a South Florida home, bringing an end to a family's confusion about where a certain meowing sound was coming from.

Broward County Sheriff's Office Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles said several firefighters on Monday safely removed the small gray kitten after cutting a hole through the wall in the Deerfield Beach family's living room. The kitten didn't appear to be injured.

It's unclear how the feline became trapped. Jachles said a neighborhood cat must have had a litter in the home's attic, with the kitten then somehow falling down into the wall.

The Miami Herald reports that the family adopted the kitten and named it Hugo, after one of the firefighters who rescued it, Hugo de Almeida.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Dog Found Dead in Owner's Stolen Car]]>Wed, 13 Apr 2016 12:49:55 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Dog+Left+to+Die+in+Stolen+Car.pngAn Oregon man's dog was found dead inside his stolen car on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. Kona, a Great Dane and black lab mix, was inside Bill Robbins' car when it was stolen last week in Portland.

Photo Credit: KGW]]>
<![CDATA[Canine Food Truck: Chicken Feet, Pumpkin Pretzels and 'Pupcakes']]>Wed, 13 Apr 2016 10:56:04 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_16104212190147-barkery-barkery-th.jpg

Stand on any block around lunchtime near Amazon.com's downtown Seattle headquarters and there are two common sights: people walking their dogs and people buying lunch at food trucks.

The scene offers a window into Seattle's infatuations with dogs (and cats), which outnumber children here, and the maturing roaming food truck market.

Now, one truck is combining both by catering to humankind's best friend.

"It kind of seems natural that now that we've conquered the people food truck market that we bring that to our faithful furry friends," Janelle Harding said.

Harding is a customer of The Seattle Barkery, a food truck that serves dogs and their owners in Seattle-area dog parks, office building parking lots, farmer's markets and private events. It rolled into operation 10 months ago.

"There is definitely a market for more things like that, where human and canine activities are combined. You don't want to always leave them at home or leave them in the car," said Dawn Ford, who owns and operates the truck with her husband, Ben.

By Ford's count, their truck is one of just a handful in the country that caters to canines. The concept is new and rare enough that dogless people occasional misunderstand and purchase a treat.

"They end up ordering something, and they seem weirded out by it," Ford said.

Popular offerings include air-fried chicken feet and duck neck, cupcakes with bacon, rebranded "pupcakes," mini cheesy doughnuts, pumpkin pretzels and peanut butter-banana cookies.

"Peanut butter is like a must," Harding said after buying treats for her pug, Stella.

Ford worked at one of Seattle's dog-friendly bars, then became a dog walker and began cooking her own treats for customers following a rash of product recalls.

"All of our treats are soft," she said. "All of our treats aren't filled with ingredients you can't pronounce."

Giving dogs homemade treats rather than processed ones is deeply important to Ford.

"What we feed our animals reflects their health," Ford said. "Animals' lives are short. If we can feed them good quality products, why wouldn't you?"

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[App Releases Top Pet Names]]>Tue, 12 Apr 2016 09:04:13 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Corgi-GettyImages-512536165.jpg

Looking to adopt a new furry companion?

In honor of National Pet Day on Monday, social media app Nextdoor released a report on top pet names across the country and by animal.

For the Southwestern states, including California, that name is Lucy. Coincidentally, Lucy is the top names for cats.

Bella, the most popular pet name in the Pacific Northwest, also earned the top name for dogs.

In a similar list released last month, Nextdoor also named Bella the top dog name in San Diego County, followed by Lucy, Buddy, Max, Molly, Daisy, Bailey, Lola, Rocky and Chloe.

National Pet Day started in 2006 to celebrate the joy of animals and to draw light to those in need of permanent homes.

Data for the list was compiled from Nextdoor member profiles that included pet information. 

Here’s a look at the full Nextdoor map of most popular names:

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Moment RF
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[6-Year-Old Girl Rescues Trapped Ducklings]]>Wed, 13 Apr 2016 04:28:29 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/222*120/04.10.16_Mia-Rescued-Ducklings.JPG

Eight ducklings separated from their mom and dad after falling down a narrow Southern California drainage pipe found their hero in a brave 6-year-old Laguna Niguel girl who came to their rescue.

Mia Rabii and her mother, Skye, were in Laguna Hills Saturday afternoon when they were flagged down by another family, who had come upon the mother duck with a lone duckling. The father was nearby.

The family had located the other ducklings down a narrow pipe, but no one had arms small enough to reach down and pull them out.

Mia said, "I can do it," according to her mom, and reached down the pipe all the way to her shoulders and pulled out the eight ducklings one by one, reuniting them with their anxious mother.

Mia, who is going to be Student of the Week at school, wants to be a veterinarian.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Skye Rabii
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Abandoned With Muzzle Taped Shut; Reward Offered]]>Sat, 09 Apr 2016 17:07:01 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/040916dog.jpg

Authorities are offering a reward for information leading to the conviction of the person who taped a dog's muzzle shut then abandoned it on a New York highway.

The male German shepherd was found Saturday on Montauk Highway in Lindenhurst, said the Suffolk County SPCA, which is offering a $2,000 reward.

"To leave this dog unable to eat or drink, abandoned and frightened on a busy road is heartbreaking," organization chief Roy Gross said in a statement.

Gross said the dog, estimated to be 2 or 3 years old, is in good health and very social.

"I can say whoever did this is a truly heartless individual," Gross told NBC News.

The Babylon Animal Shelter picked up the dog and is now caring for it.

<![CDATA[Baby Bear Rescued From Brush Fire]]>Fri, 08 Apr 2016 11:25:16 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/040816+baby+bear+saved+from+fire.jpg

Firefighters in central Florida helped save a crying bear cub while fighting a brush fire on Thursday.

The roughly 250-acre fire took place in the rural Royal Trails section of Lake County. Multiple homes had to be evacuated.

A resident heard the bear crying and firefighters went back into the brush to rescue him, according to Lake County public information officer Elisha Pappacoda.

According to NBC affiliate WESH in Orlando, Lake County Fire Rescue contained the fire and was in the "mop-up" phase when they found the cub.

"We do have a lot of Florida black bears in the area. But, this [baby bear] is not something you see every day. The tips of his fur on his face were singed. Firefighters held onto him until Fish and Wildlife came," Pappacoda said. 

Nicknamed "SJ" — for Smokey Jr. — by the fire department, the cub's paws and face were burned and his mama bear was long gone.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was called to evaluate the cub. "SJ" was in a veterinarian's care Friday morning. Pappacoda said the cub is doing fine and recovering from the minor burns. 

Photo Credit: Lake County Fire Rescue]]>
<![CDATA[Wayward Sea Lion Returns to Ocean]]>Tue, 19 Apr 2016 07:07:00 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Marina+sea+lion+return.jpg

Amid cheers by those who rescued her, Marina, the wayward sea lion that ended up in a La Jolla restaurant booth two months ago, was returned to the ocean off California on Tuesday.

SeaWorld animal care workers boated out several miles off the coast of San Diego to return Marina and several other rehabilitated sea lions.

One by one, the animals waddled to the back of the boat and dove in, swimming away as the rescue workers looked on.

The chef of The Marine Room Restaurant, where Marina was found curled up in a booth in February, joined SeaWorld workers to free the pup.

Chef Bernard Guillas had snapped photos of the pup when he found she had sneaked in to his restaurant and posted the photos on social media. They have since gained thousands of likes and comments.

Guillas said he’s seen dramatic progress in Marina’s health since she was rescued. She’s gained 25 pounds and shows signs she can forage for food in the wild.

“When she arrived, she was frail,” Guillas said. “She’s back in the ocean, in the big blue, and she’s going to enjoy life now.”

Jody Westberg, the park’s Stranded Animal coordinator, said Tuesday it was an emotional experience returning Marina to her natural habitat, and she’s confident the sea lion will survive and thrive.

“She’s a feisty, sassy animal,” Westberg said.

Photo Credit: SeaWorld]]>
<![CDATA[Officer Saves Family Dog]]>Tue, 19 Apr 2016 05:45:00 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/216*120/bailey_rescued.jpg

A police officer in Southern California was credited with saving the life of a cherished family dog that was bitten in the face by a rattlesnake.

Dispatchers received a call around 4:20 p.m. Monday from a frantic girl who said her family's 11-year-old chocolate Labrador, Bailey, had been bitten by the rattlesnake while playing in the backyard, according to the La Verne Police Department.

Officers Chris Dransfeldt and Greg Rodriguez responded to the home in North La Verne, an area near the foothills where rattlesnake sightings are common, police said.

According to police, Bailey had suffered a bite near one of his eyes and his face was swelling in reaction to the venom. The 17-year-old girl told Dransfeldt that Bailey was like a child to her parents, who would be devastated if the dog died.

The girl had no means of transportation and her mother could not leave work, police said. It might have been too late by the time she got there anyway, so Dransfeldt sprang into action.

The officer, a dog lover himself, took Bailey to the nearest veterinary hospital in La Verne. Workers told Dransfeldt the only animal hospital that carried anti-venom was located in the nearby town of Upland, so Dransfeldt put Bailey in the back seat of his cruiser.

Bailey whimpered in pain from the bite as Dransfeldt rushed him to the VCA Animal Hospital in Upland, according to the La Verne Police Department. Veterinarians administered an anti-venom medication, as well as fluids, to help save Bailey's life.

The dog stayed overnight at the hospital and was released Tuesday morning to his family. He was recuperating and is expected to recover, police said.

Photo Credit: La Verne Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Wayward Sea Lion Blocks Traffic]]>Tue, 05 Apr 2016 09:53:09 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/sea+lion3.jpg

A wayward sea lion wandered into the road Monday morning in Sonoma County, California, stalling traffic as drivers gawked and crews from the Marine Mammal Center worked to move the animal from harm's way.

The sea lion's expedition blocked the eastbound route of Highway 37 at the junction of California State Route 121, by the railroad tracks. Traffic was at a standstill at 10 a.m., according the California Highway Patrol.

The area — near Skaggs Island and the San Pablo Bay, in the middle of Novato and Vallejo — is the same spot where a 900-pound elephant seal was stranded in December 2015. The seal had to be tranquilized and corralled after it tried to cross Highway 37.

According to the police log, an off-duty officer chased the sea lion before experts from the Marine Mammal Center arrived. The agency tweeted a picture of the sea lion before it emerged from the water.

Center spokesman Giancarlo Rulli said his agency's rescue crews actually know this sea lion, and had previously nicknamed it "School Daze," a young male who had been at the center several times and treated for malnutrition. Doctors also had determined that this sea lion suffers from neurological damage, possibly because of past domoic acid exposure, the same toxin that caused the most recent Dungeness crab fishing season in California to be delayed.

School Daze is one of more than 80 young California sea lions currently at the Sausalito, Calif. center —more than four times the average normally this time of year, making this the fourth year in a row that California sea lions have been in crisis.

“After four years of sea lions in crisis, the initial shock of seeing so many starving sea lions is over and now we’re really starting to worry about long-term impacts on the population as a whole,” Dr. Shawn Johnson, director of veterinary science at the center said in a statement.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that from January to May 2015, California sea lion strandings were more than 10 times the average.

Nearly 600 sea lions pups and yearlings were stranded in California in March, according to NOAA, though that was nearly half the number reported stranded in March 2015. NOAA scientists say it’s likely that a change in the availability of the animals’ prey, like sardines, is affecting nursing mothers.

Photo Credit: California Highway Patrol]]>
<![CDATA[67 Pups Saved From Near-Freezing Van in NJ]]>Tue, 05 Apr 2016 14:06:29 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/DSC_00036.jpg

New Jersey police officers saved 67 puppies from a near-freezing van early Monday morning, authorities said.

Paramus police officers spotted the Freightliner Sprinter van parked in the back of the Just Pups store on state Route 17 in Paramus about 3 a.m., according to police. Cops later determined the van belonged to the owner of the Just Pups store. 

When officers approached the van, they heard dogs whining and smelled an odor of urine and feces coming from the vehicle.

They opened an unlocked door, saw the dogs covered in feces and called animal control, authorities said. It was later determined the temperature inside the van was about 38 degrees.

Fifteen dogs needed medical attention and were taken to Oradell Animal Hospital, police said.

The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Animal Cruelty Task Force is investigating.

The owner of the Paramus Just Pups store, Vincent LoSacco, was charged with 267 counts of animal cruelty in late February for alleged poor conditions at the East Brunswick outpost of the store. The location later had its business license revoked by the town.

Reached after those charges were filed, LoSacco said they were baseless and that an officer who issued him the summons has a personal vendetta against him. He later posted a video to Facebook saying he had been unfairly targeted.

The Paramus location had also been the target of investigations and complaints before Monday, authorities said.

LoSacco, who owns multiple Just Pups locations throughout the Garden State, couldn't be reached for comment Monday. An employee who claimed to be LoSacco's son declined to comment on the case to NBC 4 New York. 

It's not clear if charges will be filed in the case.

Photo Credit: Paramus Police]]>
<![CDATA[America's 10 Favorite Dog Breeds ]]>Thu, 28 Apr 2016 08:54:00 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/10-ShihTzu.jpgAmerica’s top 10 favorite dog breeds include the pug, the Lab and the little Shih Tzu. PetBreeds, which runs a pet search engine, analyzed the country's most popular dog breeds based on average user rating and total number of reviews for each breed, filtering out doggies who had fewer than 40 reviews. Here are the results.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/EyeEm]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Surfs It Up for Charity]]>Tue, 12 Apr 2016 17:18:02 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/french-surf-bulldog.jpg

With summer on the horizon, Southern California waves are beckoning a slew of Angelenos, including a French bulldog who has made surfing her charitable hobby.

Cherie, the 5-year old Frenchie, literally started from the bottom after being left at a dog shelter by a family who could not take care of her.

Cherie was placed into the French Bulldog Rescue Network at a very young age. That's where she was rescued by a Newport Beach couple with great love for Frenchies.

Under the care of Amy and Dan Nykolayko, Cherie made frequent trips to Rosie's Dog Beach in Long Beach where they saw how much Cherie enjoyed the water and wearing a life jacket. After her owners learned of dog surfing lessons in Del Mar, Cherie began her surfing career.

In 2013, Cherie began competing, not only for her own, but for dogs across the nation. With the help of the Nykolaykos, Cherie has raised nearly $7,000 since 2013 for rescue organizations by participating in many canine surfing competitions.

"Surfing is crazy, awesome fun but it is very important to me to help raise money for animals in need at all of the events that I compete in," reads Cherie's mission statement on her website. "Many dogs aren't as lucky as I am so I do my very best to give back every year."

Cherie won first place in the medium dog category at the 2015 Surf Dog-A-Thon and has placed in many competitions for her fundraising efforts as well. She has appeared at the All-Star Dog Rescue Celebration as well as on Nightline and Good Morning America.

The Nykolaykos, who do everything from coordinating Cherie's outfits to surfing alongside her, are both fundraising coordinators at the French bulldog Rescue Network where Cherie was placed before finding her forever home with them. 

Photo Credit: Dan Nykolayko]]>
<![CDATA[Chihuahua Rescued on Calif. Bridge]]>Mon, 04 Apr 2016 09:48:06 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/runaway+puppy.jpg

California Highway Patrol officers gave chase to an unlikely suspect early Sunday — a Chihuahua.

A driver reported the dog on westbound Bay Bridge just after 7 a.m., according to Officer Vu Williams, a spokesman for CHP San Francisco. 

CHP units noticed the small dog on the bridge's north side catwalk heading toward San Francisco, prompting an officer to stop traffic.

A motorcycle officer tried to go over to the Chihuahua and pick it up, but it bolted onto the Bay Bridge, Williams said. A video on the CHP San Francisco Twitter page shows a motorcycle officer pursuing the dog as it scampered across multiple lanes.

The black Chihuahua kept running away from officers who were trying to safely capture it so a motorcycle officer and others in a patrol car boxed in the wayward dog, Williams said. One officer distracted the animal with a jacket while another scooped it up. 

The rescue lasted roughly five minutes, according to Williams. 

CHP officers also shared a photograph of the Chihuahua being carried by one of their colleagues. A skull is dangling from the dog's black collar, but Williams said it doesn't contain any identifying information.

The dog has been picked up by the San Francisco County's Department of Animal Care and Control, whose employees nicknamed it "Ponch," after Erik Estrada's character in the 1970s TV hit, "CHiPs." Officials are going to use a scanner to ascertain if it has a microchip in it, Williams said.

Officials are seeking the public's assistance in reuniting the Chihuahua with its owner. If it isn't claimed in seven days, it will be put up for adoption.

This dog isn't the first animal to prompt a brief closure of the Bay Brige. Williams said turtles, seals and a litany of other animals have caused traffic jams in the past. 

Anyone with information is asked to call 415-554-6364.

Photo Credit: CHP San Francisco
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Rescued After Week in Storm Drain]]>Fri, 01 Apr 2016 15:47:03 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Dog-GettyImages-100394559.jpg

Firefighters outside Charleston, West Virginia, have rescued a dog believed to have been stuck in a storm drain for nearly a week.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that Pinch residents on Thursday found a dog stuck in an underground storm pipe. The neighbors had been hearing the dog's barks for days but had been unable to locate the canine.

With the help of a West Virginia American Water crew, members of the Pinch Fire Department dug up concrete and cut the pipe in order to free Mater, a 14-year-old beagle mix who had been missing since March 25.

The dog was taken to a veterinarian and is safely back with his owners, who say they're planning to install a fence.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Pig Saved From Dinner Table]]>Tue, 12 Apr 2016 17:16:18 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/181*120/12923144_10154021408273798_8038226485201047208_n.jpg

An unwanted pet pig got a new lease on life after ending up at the butcher.

"Luckily, the butcher could tell that Missy belonged in a home and not on the dinner table so she was brought to the New Hampshire SPCA for safe shelter and a second chance," the SPCA wrote in a Facebook post March 30.

Missy, a 3-year-old pot-bellied pig who is now up for adoption, is used to living in a house and loves to sleep under the covers with her human counterparts, according to the animal shelter. She is litter box trained and knows how to sit. 

The rescue operation said Missy has been going for walks and spending time outside with staff members — and she's learning how to walk on a leash. 

"She is one smart gal and would love a family to keep her mentally engaged!" the SPCA wrote on its website.

In a Facebook update posted April 1, the SPCA said thousands of people have shared Missy's picture and passed along information about her original home.

"And because so many people have responded, we will surely be able to find homes more quickly for other pot-bellied pigs when they are surrendered here, which happens more frequently than people might think!" the agency wrote.

To learn more about adopting Missy, call 603-772-2921 ext. 124 or visit the New Hampshire SPCA website.

Photo Credit: New Hampshire SPCA
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Puppies Help Save Starving Mom]]>Fri, 01 Apr 2016 10:34:43 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Princesspic.jpg

Puppy siblings Calvin and Jordan likely saved their mother’s life two weeks ago.

The puppies ran loose in Gaithersburg, Maryland, on March 14, and bystanders called the Montgomery County Animal Services, authorities said.

When an officer arrived, he found more than just the the puppies’ home — their mother, Princess, was in critical condition.

Princess, a Catahoula mix, had no food or shelter and only a small container of dirty water to drink. Animal services said she weighed just 29 pounds, when she should weigh about 50-65 pounds.

The officer took all three dogs to Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center, where Princess is still recovering.

Since she arrived at the center two weeks ago, Princess has gained over 12 pounds and begun to trust and open up to people, despite the abuse she endured.

"She can be seen in the veterinary office wagging her tail hopefully as staff pass by, and leaning up against people who come to visit her," the adoption center wrote in a press release.

Owner Allyn Tyrone Meeks was charged with one misdemeanor count for failure to provide veterinary care, shelter and food. Meeks faces up to 90 days in jail or a $1,000 fine, if convicted. It's not clear if Meeks has hired an attorney.

Princess and her two puppies are now up for adoption. For more information about adopting the dogs, call the adoption center at 240-773-5900.

Photo Credit: Montgomery Country Animal Services and Adoption Center]]>
<![CDATA[Dog With Cancer Lives Bucket List]]>Tue, 12 Apr 2016 17:16:28 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/bucket4.jpg

A Michigan dog diagnosed with terminal cancer after his owner died is now living out a bucket list of "everything a dog should do before they cross the rainbow bridge."

Loren Cazan, a volunteer at Rejoyceful Animal Rescue in Mount Clemens, adopted the 14-year-old Lab mix named Buddy after his owner suddenly passed away.

"The family had contacted the rescue and asked if we could take him cause they didn’t want him to end up at a shelter," said Michelle Heyza, founder Rejoyceful Animal Rescue. "He was very depressed when he came in."

Rescuers took the dog to a vet, where tests revealed Buddy had mast cell cancer.

"He has a tumor on his side, and a bunch of small tumors all over his body," Heyza said. "He’s not in the position at 14 years old to have the tumors removed. He wouldn’t survive surgery." 

Heyza called the vet visit a "blow" because there was nothing the workers could do. She called Buddy the "most lovable dog you could ever meet."

"There’s not a person or thing he didn’t like that he didn’t meet, which made his diagnosis all the more hard to hear," she said, adding, "So we created a bucket list of everything a dog should do before they cross the rainbow bridge. It was to celebrate his life and have fun with him before he goes."

A series of photos show items on the pup’s bucket list, including: get adopted, chase a flock of geese, become a businessman, get a job, eat a "pup cup" with his best friends and "being a total chick magnet surrounded by a bunch of chicks!"

"We hope that people will adopt other senior dogs and help them live out a bucket list," Heyza said.

Photo Credit: Rejoyceful Animal Rescue
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[73 Dogs Saved From Tx. Puppy Mill]]>Tue, 12 Apr 2016 17:16:37 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Stephens-Co-Puppy-Mill-07.jpg

Seventy-three neglected dogs were rescued from an alleged puppy mill in Stephens County after being found in filthy, cramped conditions, according to the Humane Society of North Texas.

HSNT said the owners were breeding Australian shepherds, border collies, German shepherds and Labrador retrievers. The animals were housed in three areas that did not provide suitable living conditions.

"The conditions these dogs were living in were absolutely horrific," said Kim Meek, lead humane investigator for HSNT. "It was clear that the owners had become overwhelmed. There were so many dogs living inside the house that the owners had actually moved into a travel trailer in the yard. More dogs were living in the attached garage and two large buildings. Even worse, there were several dogs crammed into wire pop up crates. In many of the enclosures, more than 6 inches of feces covered the floors."

The Stephens Count Animal Shelter was awarded custody on Monday of all 73 dogs — including three nursing mothers. The shelter was unable to care for the large number of animals and signed custody of 60 dogs over to HSNT.

HSNT gave the dogs medical examinations and treated them for parasitic infections. Two of the puppies tested positive for parvovirus; one died and the other is being treated by a veterinarian.

"Puppies born in puppy mills frequently contract life-threatening diseases such as parvovirus and distemper as a result of the squalor they live in," said HSNT veterinarian Dr. Cynthia Jones. "Sadly, many do not live to see their first birthday."

A male miniature Australian shepherd, named Ranger by the HSNT staff, needs ear ablation. HSNT said it doesn't know what caused Ranger's deformity, but without the surgery, he will have chronic ear infections and ear pain. According to the HSNT, the surgery would remove his ear canal and sew it shut, allowing him to live a healthy, comfortable life.

HSNT is seeking donations from animal lovers in the community to provide Ranger with surgery and to help fund the care of the 60 dogs in its care until they are able to find loving homes.

Donations can be made at www.hsnt.org, by calling 817-332-4768, or by mail at 1840 E. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76103.

The rescued dogs will remain at the HSNT holding facility until they are cleared to undergo spay and neuter surgeries and then enter the adoption program.

Photo Credit: Humane Society of North Texas]]>
<![CDATA[Special Explores Program for 2nd Chance Dogs]]>Wed, 30 Mar 2016 13:02:51 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_19533597227.jpg

Animal Planet will soon celebrate the success of a unique program aimed at second chance dogs, often shy and traumatized victims of puppy mills, hoarders and abandonment.

In an hour-long special, the network delves into the Behavior Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey. It's a pilot program of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that began in 2013 and will soon be expanded, in time for the ASPCA's 150th anniversary.

Called "Second Chance Dogs," to air April 16 (9 a.m. Eastern), the Animal Planet show starts at the center's beginning, when the ASPCA decided to try rehabilitation for hard luck cases.

Of 259 dogs sent to the center since it opened, 185 have graduated. Of those, 170 were adopted and the majority is doing quite well, said Kristen Collins, a certified applied animal behaviorist who oversees the project and will be the director of a new facility planned as part of the expansion.

Not all the dogs were success stories. Thirteen were deemed inappropriate for the program, including those with health issues, and 28 failed to graduate after months in the program. Some of those were sent back to the shelters where they came from and some had to be euthanized.

But the ASPCA stands firmly behind the center. It will continue to move dogs through St. Hubert's until a new $9 million, 35,000-square-foot facility is finished in mid-2017 in Weaverville, North Carolina.

"While we can't yet answer all of the questions associated with rehabilitating at-risk animals, we continue to witness amazing transformations, dogs that conquer their anxiety and fear despite years of devastating behavioral damage. These transformations change the trajectory of their lives," said Matthew Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA.

Nearly every animal shelter in the country has a shy dog or two, Collins said. The new rehab center will have a dormitory that can accommodate visiting staff bringing in dogs from shelters or seeking training on how to handle their own loads. Shelters will not be charged for sending dogs or staff to the center, she said.

The human training will be offered because the ASPCA feels it's just as important to teach shelter workers around the country how to gain the trust of severely traumatized dogs as it is to rehabilitate the animals, Bershadker said.

"Collecting this insight and sharing it will enable all of us to move more vulnerable dogs from peril to safety," he said.

Collins said the center was the first dedicated solely to abused or neglected dogs. Her dogs, Wink, Juno and Toefu, are part of its workforce as "helper" dogs. They made it into the documentary, done by the production company Dog Files under ASPCA supervision.

Kathryn Klumpp of Watchung, New Jersey, is the proud owner of one of the center's graduates. She adopted Mary Ann after the dog was transferred from rehab to the Butler Town Pound. The mutt, believed to be around 2, adjusted quickly to life with her new family, Klumpp said. Her husband, sons (ages 11 and 13), two other dogs and a cat all made it work.

"When she came home, the family could only scratch her under her chin where she could watch them. Now, they can scratch her back." Klumpp said. "That's how much she has come to trust all of us."

While things went quite smoothly, the family made one serious change: "So now her name is Hope."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Partially Blind Steer Saved]]>Tue, 12 Apr 2016 17:16:48 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Oatmeal-Blind-Steer.jpg

A partially blind steer that was among the winners of the Fort Worth Stock Show has avoided slaughter after critics decried plans to butcher the animal.

Oatmeal was recently moved to an undisclosed ranch after stock show officials stepped in to help save him, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Saturday.

Kendyll Williams, 13, of Huntsville, raised and showed the steer at this year's Fort Worth Stock Show and a buyer paid $8,000. Then an online effort began to save the animal diagnosed with cataracts.

On Feb. 11, Matt Brockman, the show's publicity manager, hauled Oatmeal to the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in College Station for examination.

"He loaded like a champ and hauled like a champ," Brockman said Friday. "It was clear that he had functional eyesight, and in my opinion, this steer could have entered the food system. ... I've worked with totally blind steers, and this steer wasn't that."

Oatmeal was moved to his new home after being examined at Texas A&M.

"It was established by our board certified ophthalmologist that the steer is not completely blind and does have partial vision, although cataracts are present in both eyes," Dr. Eleanor Green, dean of the veterinary college, said in an email to the Star-Telegram on Friday.

Brockman said young exhibitors at the Fort Worth Stock Show are learning about the industry and providing a safe food supply, knowing fully their animals will end up in the slaughterhouse.

"A young livestock show exhibitor knows the animal they raise to show will someday enter the food system. ... The youth participants are fully aware that at some point their 'project' will be processed and enter the food system," Brockman said in a previous email to the newspaper. "They're helping feed the world."

Renee King-Sonnen, founder of the Rowdy Girl Sanctuary in Angleton, which sought to save Oatmeal, said volunteers collected about $12,000 for the animal's care.

"I'm happy if he's really safe, I just don't understand all the secrecy," King-Sonnen said. "I just hope he never, ever, ever sees a slaughterhouse."

The money raised for the steer will now go toward scholarships for young people who indicate they have a change of heart about showing and selling livestock for slaughter, she said. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences]]>
<![CDATA[Dog's Emotional Reunion With Owner]]>Fri, 25 Mar 2016 16:27:13 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/032516+chloe+mary+jane+collier+county+department+of+animal+services.jpg

A Facebook video showing a Florida dog owner's emotional reunion with his stolen dog after seven months apart is going viral.

The video, posted by the Collier County Department of Animal Services, shows the dog happily barking and jumping into her owner's arms for a big hug.

The dog, named Chloe by the shelter's workers but whose real name is Mary Jane, was found roaming the streets. The shelter posted videos which led to her owner.

The Facebook video (below) has been viewed more than 1.5 million times and had nearly 35,000 likes by Friday.


Photo Credit: Collier County Department of Animal Services
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Runaway Piglet Gets a Home]]>Tue, 12 Apr 2016 17:17:30 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/IMG_18272.JPG

This little piggy, who ran wildly among cars and brought traffic to a halt in San Francisco's Mission District earlier this month, has traded in city life for the country.

According to the San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control, the wayward piglet, who has since been named Janice, was adopted by Al Wolf, the director of Sonoma County Reptile Rescue. The piglet and her new guardian left for Sonoma Monday morning.

Janice drew a crowd of good Samaritans on March 8, leading them on a chase up and down Dolores Street, animal care officials said. Finally, Brother Damian with the Society of Saint Francis was able to scoop her up and get her to safety.

 "Janice has spent her time wisely, bringing good cheer and smiles to shelter visitors," the Department of Animal Care and Control said in a statement.

Although no owner laid claim to Janice, the piglet's story captured the attention of many who asked to adopt her, officials said.

"We've enjoyed having Janice — she’s taught us a lot about pigs, and we’ve loved her good nature and spirit," Animal Care & Control Executive Director Virginia Donohue said.

Photo Credit: San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control]]>
<![CDATA[Scalded Cat Finds New Home]]>Tue, 12 Apr 2016 17:17:39 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Driver+The+Cat.png

Nearly two months after a disturbing video surfaced showing a man scalding a cat with boiling water, that same cat has found a happy new home. 

A video posted on Facebook in early February showed a man coaxing a cat toward him before pouring a pot of boiling water on the animal. The footage sparked nationwide outrage as it spread across social media, prompting a police investigation.

Eighteen-year-old Leon Teague, of South Martin Luther King Drive, was charged with one felony count of animal torture and one misdemeanor count of animal cruelty. It's not clear if Teague has hired an attorney.

The cat was found, thanks to a rescue effort organized by two Chicago women, and taken to Felines & Canines animal shelter in Edgewater.

Now, the cat, named Driver, has been adopted after more than a month rehabilitating from his injuries, according to the shelter's Facebook page. 

Calling the incident "one of the most horrific assaults we’ve ever seen," executive director Abby Smith details the treatment Driver endured.

According to Smith, Driver suffered third-degree burns and subsequent infections, requiring two weeks of hospitalization in the ICU, laser therapy, wound cleaning three times a day and more. 

After a diligent screening process, the shelter was "over-the-moon" to announce Driver's adoption this week, Smith said. With three sisters to play with, Driver's new home has "the most gentle, loving family where Driver will know nothing but kindness, love, and napping in the sunbeams for the rest of his life," according to Smith. 

The shelter also established "Driver's Fund" to help rescue and care for animals suffering from extreme injury or illness.

Photo Credit: NBC 5
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA['Cat Cafe' to Open in Chicago]]>Thu, 17 Mar 2016 17:39:40 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/cat+cafe2.jpg

Why drink coffee alone when you can enjoy it in the company of a cat?

Chicago’s first "cat cafe" is coming to West Rogers Park as part of Tree House Humane Society’s new shelter set to open this year. The Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved an ordinance allowing the opening of animal shelter cafes.

"Cat Cafes are wildly popular throughout Asia, Europe and the United States," Alderman Debra Silverstein, who introduced the ordinance, said in a statement. "The 50th Ward will soon be home to the City of Chicago’s first Cat Cafe and, thanks to this new ordinance, will set a trend that will spread throughout the city and the rest of the Midwest."

Tree House Humane Society’s Cat Cafe plans to open at 7225 N. Western Ave. as part of its new adoption center and veterinary clinic. The location features full-length glass windows in the serving areas and an adjacent sitting room where visitors can have direct interaction with adoptable, rescued cats while enjoying coffee, tea and other beverages.

"We are extremely grateful to Alderman Silverstein and the City Council for making this dream a reality," said David de Funiak, executive director of Tree House Humane Society, in a statement. "The Tree House Cat Cafe will provide a unique opportunity for individuals to interact with our rescued, adoptable cats, ultimately helping more animals find their forever home and enabling us to rescue even more."

The new facility started construction last June as an adoption center and will now include a cafe. Tree House’s goal is to open sometime mid-year. Funds from the cafe will benefit the shelter, with proceeds directly supporting the rescue and rehabilitation of the cats.

The Animal Shelter Café Permit is available for licensed humane societies only, and the ordinance aims to facilitate as a tool to boost adoptions. The cafes can only sell non-alcoholic beverages and must maintain sanitation requirements.

Photo Credit: Tree House Humane Society]]>
<![CDATA[U.S. Navy Finds Puppy ]]>Fri, 18 Mar 2016 10:08:37 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Luna-Navy-Reunion-SD-0316.jpg

A missing puppy that fell off a fishing boat nearly five weeks ago in the waters off Southern California was found by the U.S. Navy Tuesday and reunited with her family in San Diego.

U.S. Navy officials say Luna – a 1-and-a-half-year-old German Shepherd – was presumed to be lost at sea after falling overboard near Naval Auxiliary Landing Field San Clemente Island (SCI) in Southern California on Feb. 10.

That day, Luna's owner, Nick Haworth, called officials at SCI from his fishing boat to report that he and his crew were bringing in traps from a fishing vessel when Luna vanished. Hayworth said one minute the pup was there and the next she was gone.

Haworth and his crew were about two miles off the coast of San Clemente, and he told Naval officials he thought Luna may try to swim to shore.

Navy staff at SCI searched the island for the dog to no avail. Hayworth stayed at sea for two days looking for Luna. And still, no luck.

After about a week of searching for the pup, she was presumed dead, Navy officials said.

Nearly five weeks passed.

Then a miracle happened.

On Tuesday morning, as Navy staff headed to work at SCI, they spotted Luna sitting next to the road. The pup, as her owner hoped, had somehow managed to make it ashore.

When the pooch saw staffers, she ran right up to them.

"They were shocked," Naval Base Coronado PAO Sandy DeMunnik told NBC 7.

DeMunnik said Luna was examined by a Navy wildlife biologist who found her to be undernourished but otherwise unharmed. The pup was in "good spirits."

The Navy flew Luna to Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado (NASNI) Wednesday afternoon, where was turned over to a family friend of her owner. Haworth, a commercial fisherman, was out of town for work, but was soon due to return home to San Diego to be reunited with his beloved companion.

Haworth's family friend, Conner Lamb, went to pick up Luna on Wednesday afternoon in Haworth's place and the reunion was joyous.

Lamb has worked on a fishing boat with Luna often and was ecstatic and amazed she's alive. He scooped her up and embraced the pup as soon as he saw her. Luna's tail wagged.

"[It's] just really mind blowing to tell you the truth," he said. "When I got the call this happened, [I] never even though this would be possible."

Photo Credit: United States Navy]]>
<![CDATA[NYPD Rescues Kittens Left for Dead in Suitcase]]>Tue, 12 Apr 2016 17:17:46 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NYPD+kittens+1.jpg

Police rescued a half-dozen kittens after someone threw them in a suitcase and left them for dead, the NYPD said.

The felines had been tossed over a fence at a lot on Wythe Avenue near the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn on Thursday evening, according to the Daily News.

The 90th precinct tweeted photos of the little critters on Tuesday following their rescue.

Sadly, a seventh kitten did not survive.

The rescued kittens are now with the ASPCA awaiting adoption.

Anyone with information about who tossed the cats is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

Photo Credit: @NYPD90Pct/Twitter
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[New Hope for Neglected Pups]]>Tue, 12 Apr 2016 17:17:55 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/202*120/transformed-dogs-031516.jpg

Two Southern California pups who were found with severely matted fur after living in what Riverside County Animal Services called "uncomfortable" and "neglectful" conditions were given a makeover, officials said Tuesday.

The dogs arrived at the Riverside shelter Monday with bloodshot eyes and heavily matted fur in what authorities called one of the worst cases they'd seen.

"These two dogs illustrated the worst matted condition I've seen in my almost 10 years working for the county," Rachel Schafer-Young, who groomed the dogs, said. "It almost seemed that they were suffocating in their own fur."

A good Samaritan found the grimy canines after witnessing someone dump trash in a remote area of the Coachella Valley. Then the man saw the trash move.

"These dogs were a complete mess," the shelter said in a statement.

The dogs, both male and about 5 years old, were shaved down and all of the heavy fur removed.

Schafer-Young said the dogs are believed to be purebred Shih Tzu, though she said she can't tell for sure.

The dogs may soon have a new "leash" on life: A special adoption will be planned, shelter workers said.

Photo Credit: Riverside County Animal Services]]>
<![CDATA[Kids Read to Dogs]]>Mon, 14 Mar 2016 23:48:21 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/220*120/barks-and-books031416.PNG

What could be cuter than kids and dogs?

Children in Southern California read out loud to "tail-wagging tutors" Monday at La Pintoresca Branch Library as a part of the Pasadena Humane Society's "Barks and Books," a reading enrichment program that encourages kids to build confidence in their reading skills and the safe and humane treatment of animals.

The guest of honor was Smokey, an 8-year-old pit bull, who donned a shamrock headband in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day.

"We found that children who were afraid of dogs are more comfortable after being with a dog here in the library," Rosa Cesaretti of the La Pintoresca Branch Library in Pasadena said.

Since 2003, volunteers from the Humane Society have regularly brought specially-trained dogs to more than 17 different libraries in the Southland.

"We also find that as the children are reading out loud, they're able to listen to themselves read, and they're realizing that they could read well and it builds their confidence," Cesaretti said.

The "Barks and Books" program is free and open to the public. Find out where else you can read to curious canines here.

Photo Credit: KVEA]]>
<![CDATA[Rutger, the Rutgers Gardens Cat, Has Died]]>Fri, 04 Mar 2016 13:31:54 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/rutger-on-plants.jpg

The cat that was a fixture greeting visitors at New Jersey's Rutgers Gardens has died. Rutger was 21 years old.

Horticulturist Monica McLaughlin told the Home News Tribune she was with Rutger when he died on Monday. McLaughlin said she and another volunteer knew it was time and they held him and sat on the grass with the sun shining on him.

"To think he made it that long. He had a great life," McLaughlin told NBC.

The gray tabby spent his life controlling the mice population at the gardens in New Brunswick. However, Rutger went missing in 2014 when a woman took him to make him her pet.

McLaughlin said it did not work out and the woman set him free about two miles away. He was spotted outside a home where a person was grilling salmon.  

McLaughlin said Rutger wasn't the only cat to take up residence at the Gardens and mentioned another feline named Luke.

"I just hope he'd venture out of the greenhouse area more," she said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Ken Karamichael
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Pet Tech Helps Keep Animals Safe and Connected While You're Away]]>Tue, 19 Apr 2016 10:44:00 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/PetTech-Thumbnail.jpg

Technology isn't just for humans anymore. It's also for their furry friends.

In Silicon Valley and beyond, a growing number of startups are selling devices to keep pets safe, healthy, entertained and connected when their owners are away.

"Pet tech" entrepreneurs and investors see a big opportunity as pet ownership grows and owners show a willingness to spend serious money on their four-legged companions.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. households, or 80 million homes, have pets, and Americans spent more than $60 billion on them last year, according to the American Pet Products Association.

"The number of pets in the world is growing extremely fast and that opens up the market," said Peter Harrop, chairman of IDTechEx, a technology market research firm. "I'm sure five years from now there will be all sorts of things we can't imagine."

Already, there are devices that let your pets call you (PetChatz), play games and win treats when they're home alone (CleverPet) and even speak with a human voice (Petspeak).

But as more pet-tech gadgets come to market, experts caution owners against relying on them too much.

"The technology can be useful as an adjunct, a way of enriching your relationship with your pet, but certainly not a substitute for time spent with your dog," said Pamela Wyman, who runs the DogEvolve training school in Oakland.

The Petzi Treatcam lets Anne Ryan check on her dogs Oscar and Reggie at her Berkeley home when she's working in San Francisco or traveling out of state.

The Internet-connected device lets her see her dogs, talk to them, take photos and even dispense treats — using an app on her phone.

"I turn it on, get to see them, get to talk to them and it changes my mood, and puts me back in a positive frame," said Ryan said. "I didn't know that I needed it, but now I don't think that I could live without it."

The TreatCam was created by San Jose-based Petzila, which was founded by two veteran technology executives who wanted to get their pets online. The startup also created a social media app that lets owners share pet photos.

"All of the most current crazes and fads in technology were touching everything but the pet," said CEO David Clark.

Whistle, a San Francisco startup, sells a GPS-enabled Pet Tracker that alerts owners when their pets have left their "safe zone" and helps find them if they get lost. The device also lets owners track how much exercise and sleep their animals are getting.

Ben Jacobs, Whistle's CEO and co-founder, said the pet-tech market is expanding fast as pets move up the household hierarchy.

"From the yard to the home to the bed — the dog is no longer out as part of the farm, but they're actually sleeping in bed with you as part of the family," Jacobs said.

For owners who want their dogs and cats to be more active during the day, the Petcube Camera lets them see and speak to their pets, and play with them with a laser pointer.

Petcube's Ukranian founders started the company in Kiev, but moved its headquarters to San Francisco to reach a global market.

"If we can connect all the pets to the Internet and basically digitize this space, it will be nothing short of disruption," said Yaroslav Azhnyuk, Petcube CEO and co-founder. "It will be very big." 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

<![CDATA[Golden Retriever Puppy Gets Braces]]>Tue, 08 Mar 2016 21:17:37 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Wesley-Puppy-Braces.jpg

Like many "teenagers," Wesley is sporting a mouthful of braces.

But his case is unusual, because Wesley is a dog.

The 6-month-old golden retriever showed off his "metal mouth" in photos posted Feb. 26 on the Facebook page of Michigan's Harborfront Hospital for Animals.

The pup is in good hands: his owner, Molly Moore, works at the animal hospital, and Moore's father is the dentist who took care of him.

According to Moore, doggie braces are rare but not unheard of. She said Harborfront has fitted dogs with braces in the past.

"Orthodontia in pets is normally not for aesthetic purposes, but because of health concerns," the hospital explained on its Facebook page.

According to Harborfront, Wesley "needed tooth alignment because he could not close his mouth completely."

Dr. Jim Moore said his doggie braces are made of the same materials used on people.

"We use all human products, so this is something we’d put on a child," he explained.

The cost varies depending on the kind of brace, but the ones used on Wesley typically run between $1,700 and $1,800, Jim Moore said. Wesley, however, got a discount.

Molly Moore said Wesley doesn't seem fazed by the hardware and is "still his puppyish self," despite needing soft foods and being unable to play with his toys.

"It obviously doesn't bother him one little bit," Harborfront wrote on Facebook. "He's a happy little guy."

Wesley should get his braces off in a few weeks.

February marked National Pet Dental Health month, and the animal hospital shared Wesley's photos to spread the word.

Harborfront posted an update Monday saying the staff was "overwhelmed by the outpouring of care and interest from around the nation" for Wesley.

"Dental care is just as important for the pets we love as it is for us and we are glad that his cute 'brace face' brought such interest," the hospital wrote.

Photo Credit: Harborfront Hospital for Animals]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Real Dog Meets Giant Robot Dog]]>Tue, 19 Apr 2016 02:04:00 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2016-03-01-at-1.30.47-PM.jpg

It's dog versus machine.

A video, created by Boston Dynamics, the Google-owned robotics company, shows an interaction between a small, real dog and the Spot robot, which looks like a tall, headless dog. 

"Come on, take him big dog," a voice says in the video shot in a parking lot. 

But the real dog is not intimidated. It barks relentlessly and doesn't let the lifelike robot get away too far, chasing after it. The Spot robot is the latest quadruped robot from Boston Dynamics.

The video was posted to YouTube on Feb. 27 by Steve Jurvetson, a venture capitalist who is involved in several high-tech companies.

Photo Credit: Jurvetson/YouTube]]>
<![CDATA[Morales to Host Special on Clear the Shelters Drive ]]>Fri, 21 Aug 2015 16:38:23 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/NUP_146526_1474.JPG

Hannah the tutu-wearing pit bull, George the pot-bellied pig and a kitten named Chase were among the nearly 20,000 animals who got new homes last weekend as part of the Clear the Shelters adoption drive. 

Stories like theirs will be front and center this Saturday, when "Today" co-host Natalie Morales hosts a 30-minute post-adoption drive special that will recap the national day of action. It can be seen Aug. 22 on all 11 NBC Owned Stations, plus more than 100 NBC affiliate stations. Telemundo stations will also air a post-adoption drive show on the same day.

Twenty-eight local NBC and Telemundo television stations, including regional news network necn, partnered with more than 400 animal shelters across the country to find new homes for thousands of homeless pets. Many participating shelters waived fees or cut costs as part of the Clear the Shelters campaign, which culminated Aug. 15.

By the end of the day on Saturday, 20 shelters reported that they had “cleared” all adoptable animals during the event, which was also sponsored by Overstock.com.

“I am so proud that all of our stations came together with hundreds of animal shelters across the country, with the help of the ASPCA and our friends at Overstock.com, to find thousands of animals in need of their forever homes. We are all so grateful to everyone who opened their homes to these deserving pets on this national day of action,” Valari Staab, president of the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations division of NBCUniversal, said in a statement.

“Clear the Shelters is an example of how together, we can rally to help save deserving animal lives and in the end make a positive impact across communities nationwide.”

Morales adopted her own shelter dog, Zara, through the North Shore Animal League, which reported 137 adoptions as part of this year's Clear the Shelters campaign.

Morales describes her mutt, who she first met four years ago after Zara appeared on the NBC morning show, as part of her family, like "our third child."

"It was love at first sight," Morales said.

She said that after overcoming some initial shyness, the new addition quickly took to Morales' sons, Josh and Luke, and became part of the family. Not much was known of Zara's history pre-adoption, other than she was saved from a kill shelter in Georgia where she was about to be put down. 

Morales believes shelters are often overlooked by people seeking a four-legged companion.

"I was blown away by the beautiful dogs, some of them pedigree dogs [at shelters]," she said. "They deserve second chances. It really is just training them with love and kindness."

"There are so many incredible animals that need homes, and Zara was one of them. I can't imagine life without her now."

Photo Credit: Andrew Eccles/NBC]]>
<![CDATA[Golden Retriever Making 'Absolutely Remarkable' Recovery After Found Burned Across Back]]>Wed, 19 Aug 2015 05:02:00 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/211*120/8-18--15-golden+retriever-fergus.jpg

A young golden retriever whose resilience is described as "absolutely remarkable" was recovering Tuesday at a Southern California animal hospital after a rescue group found him surrendered at an animal shelter with a third-degree burn.

The dog, a 1- or 2-year-old pup now named Fergus, was found by a good Samaritan outside of a Walmart in Lancaster with a burn along his back, from his neck all the way to his tail. The person who found him took him to a shelter, where the rescue group found him during a routine stop.

“It breaks your heart,” said Barbara Gale of the Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue group, which rescues surrendered golden retrievers from San Diego to Santa Barbara. “What did dogs ever do to anyone except bring love and joy? That’s what they’re on earth for.”

The same day NBC stations across the country were helping to Clear the Shelters on Saturday, Gale said the shelter handed over Fergus to be treated.

“It just was sick,” Gale said. “I was sick and my only thought was, 'How quickly can we get him?'”

“He was scared. He was very very scared when we first got him and confused,” she said, adding that he suffered a seizure when they first got him.

It is believed it was possible the person responsible for harming Fergus could have harmed other dogs. Gale said she heard there was another dog brought in the same week as Fergus with similar wounds.

The Animal Medical Center in West LA is caring for Fergus now, at limited cost to the rescue group. Dr. Alan Schulman said Fergus came in with severe tissue damage. On Thuesday night, Fergus began receiving laser therapy for the wound along his back.

“He hurt,” Dr. Schulman said. “There is no way you do not feel substantial pain and discomfort if you have this type of third-degree burn.”

For Fergus, named after an Irish word meaning "powerful," his tail-wagging hasn’t stopped since he awoke from his sedation.

“The fact that this guy still trusts people, wags his tail and will let us treat him considering the horrendous way that some person hurt him, is absolutely remarkable,” Dr. Schulman said.

Schulman said he did not believe the dog was set on fire, but rather something more sinister.

“It’s not the first one we’ve seen where some deranged individual goes ahead and pours battery acid or some other chemical up and down their back,” he said.

Dr. Schulman noted that Fergus is a loving dog that is easy to get close to when he is given attention. He said whoever harmed Fergus probably tried to pour the acid on his head but Fergus moved.

There has been no word on who may have done this to Fergus, but Gale says she has a feeling she knows the “type,” saying, “Only a coward, a bully, can do this.”

Dr. Schulman went a step further, crediting his South Bronx upbringing for his feelings, saying, “I’d be the first one to line up and hold him down and pour whatever chemical he poured on this dog right over him.”

The Golden Retriever Rescue group set up a GoFundMe site to help with the costs of Fergus’ care, with any amount over the goal amount going to helping the group’s cause of helping other surrendered dogs. To make a donation, click here.

For information on adopting Fergus, you can speak directly with the rescue here.

Photo Credit: Ernesto Torres]]>
<![CDATA[Pit Bull Reunited With Owner After Shelter Spots Missing Dog Post Online]]>Sat, 15 Aug 2015 17:39:02 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/pit+bill+chief.jpg

One lucky pit bull found his forever home for the second time Saturday during the nationwide Clear the Shelters adoption drive. 

Joe Cool, aka Chief, jumped over a fence and ran away from his home on Monday afternoon. By Tuesday, Chief found his way to the Humane Society of the Calumet area, where he stayed for the rest of the week.

Shelter employee Stacy Budeselich came to Chief's rescue on Saturday when she was scrolling through Facebook looking for "missing dog" posts in the area. She saw a post from Chief's owner and immediately recognized the pit bull's face.

"I said, 'Wait a minute, that dog looks familiar. I think we got him in,'" Budeselich said.

Budeselich called the phone number attached to the "missing dog" post, and within half an hour the owner showed up to the shelter with a laptop full of photos to prove he was Chief's owner. Budeselich said Chief looked excited to see his owner, but he was a little nervous because he knew he should never have run away.

The Humane Society of the Calumet area has seen happy endings like Chief's before. Budeselich said just last month another dog was reunited with his owner after spending three months in the shelter. Budeselich said she routinely checks Facebook and "missing dog" websites to make sure her shelter doesn't have a dog that already has a forever home.

While Chief and his owner reunited, hundreds of first-time and veteran pet owners adopted dogs and cats across the Chicago area for NBC and Telemundo's "Clear the Shelters" event. As of 3:15 p.m. 715 animals had been adopted in the Chicago area, and more than 9,000 had been adopted nationwide.

Photo Credit: Humane Society of the Calumet area]]>
<![CDATA[From Pigs to Lizards, Many Kinds of Pets Seek New Homes ]]>Sun, 16 Aug 2015 09:39:19 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/George_the_Pig81515.png

All across the country, it's raining cats and dogs and… lizards?

While the vast majority of the adoptees during the Clear the Shelters pet adoption drive were cats and dogs, there was plenty of variety in the species available to potential owners at shelters across the country.

At the Humane Society of Calvert County in Maryland, a pot-bellied pig named Channing Tatum was headed for a new home.

“He’s very laid back,” Debbie Samler, an adoption counselor at the site, said. “He likes people.”

He also likes other animals, but not other pigs, she said. According to Samler, the Humane Society rescued him from another shelter.

“Generally, people will get these pot-bellied pigs and they live in apartments and then think they’re going to stay tiny,” she said. “And they don’t.”

In Irving, Texas, another pot-bellied pig, George, was adopted from Irving Animal Services. He will spend the rest of his days on his owners' goat farm.

MSPCA-Angell, in Massachusetts, also had guinea pigs, a domestic rat, a grey macaw and a chinchilla ready for new homes Saturday. 

In Los Angeles, the West LA Animal Care Center had already given three rabbits homes shortly after opening its doors. Bunnies were available for adoption in Texas, as well as in the San Francisco Bay area and Voorhees, New Jersey.

Texans heading to a shelter in search of a new pet Saturday could also find at least one hamster and a hedgehog. Shelters in the D.C. area, meanwhile, reported giving forever homes to another hamster, as well as two turtles and a ferret.

And yes, in New York, there were even lizards in need of loving owners. All creatures, great and small, were up for adoption on Saturday. More than 17,000 animals were placed in adoptive homes as part of the drive, which was sponsored by NBC Owned Television Stations and Telemundo Station Group. 

NBC Owned Television Stations' Cynthia Andrews and Noreen O'Donnell contributed to this report.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[#ClearTheShelters: Family Adopts Puppy After Death of Family Dog]]>Sat, 15 Aug 2015 12:57:04 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/kona+the+dog+clear+the+shelters.jpgA family took part in Clear the Shelters on Saturday, several years after their family dog died. They named the dog Kona because of his brown head, which they said looks like a coffee bean. Kona was right at home with the mom, dad and son, wagging his tail and relaxing on the pavement at their feet.]]><![CDATA[Raphael Miranda's Midday Forecast for Saturday, August 15]]>Sat, 15 Aug 2015 13:50:03 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000008252722_1200x675_505714243633.jpgRaphael Miranda's midday weather forecast for Saturday, August 15. ]]><![CDATA[PHOTOS: 8 Celebs Who Love Their Shelter Pets ]]>Fri, 31 Jul 2015 07:13:22 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-452991000.jpg

While celebrities amass millions of fans all over the world, sometimes it's a dog that makes them feel happy like nobody else can.

Like millions of other pet owners in the United States, some stars opt to adopt their furry friends from animal shelters or rescue groups.  

Bradley Cooper saved his from pup from being put down, for example. Some celebrity rescue pets gain a fan base of their own —  Amanda Seyfried's partner in crime has thousands of followers on Twitter.

Here are some examples of stars who saved a pup from a shelter. 

Amanda Seyfried 

Amanda Seyfried has talked about her rescue dog Finn on numerous talk shows and posted photos of the Australian Shepherd on social media as well. Whether its putting items on his head or dressing him up in various costumes, the actress and her sidekick have a lot of fun together, she said on "The Tonight Show." The "Ted 2" star's pooch also has his own Twitter account with more than 13,000 followers.

Jon Hamm

Actor Jon Hamm adopted his dog Cora from a Los Angeles area animal shelter where he also volunteers, according to Animal Fair. The "Mad Men" star told the publication that when he went to the Much Love Animal Rescue with his longtime girlfriend Jennifer Westfeldt, the couple "saw her and fell in love."

Zooey Deschanel

Zooey Deschanel shared the story of adopting pups Zelda and Dot from the Los Angeles-based Bill Foundation on "The Ellen Degeneres Show" in 2013. The nonprofit told the "New Girl" star that if she adopted one of the female pups, she would have to adopt her sister as well. She also shared a cute picture of the pair on Instagram, as seen below.

George Clooney

George Clooney said in an interview with Esquire that he came across his black cocker spaniel mix named Einstein while watching a video online in 2010. It said the dog had been living in a "filthy, crowded" shelter that would have put him down without intervention. The dog ended up living at a foster home through the Los Angeles area breed rescue Camp Cocker.

The actor told Esquire that when he called the group and asked for the dog, they told him the dog must also want to live him. Before meeting Einstein for the first time, Clooney wiped meatballs on his shoes to make sure the dog took a liking to him. "Forever, now, he just thinks of me as the guy with the meatball feet," Clooney told Esquire. "He loves me. I can do no wrong. He follows me everywhere."


Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper came just in time for his German shorthaired pointer Samson, he told People. The "Hangover" star found the dog on a website for a kill shelter only three weeks before the dog would have been euthanized. He also has a chow-retriever mix named Charlotte he found during an adoption drive in Santa Monica, he told the publication. Unfortunately the dog died in 2011, according to The New York Times.


Oprah met her dog Sadie, a blond cocker spaniel, while shooting a spread for her publication O magazine at PAWS Chicago, according to her website. "The dog chose me," Oprah said. "There were like six or seven dogs, and she was on my shoulder, nuzzling." But Sadie isn't the only furry friend the media mogul has had; she said in an Oprah.com video that she has owned about 21 pets in her adult life.

Jane Lynch

"Hollywood Game Night" host Jane Lynch has an Australian koolie mix rescue dog named Francis, she told the website Cesars Way. "When I met my dog at an adoption fair, I said 'Olivia' and she gave me this look that said, ‘Yeah, whatever lady, just get me out of here!’" Lynch said. The actress has also participated in PETA pet public service announcements.

Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal is an enthusiast of both animals and the Harper Lee novel "How to Kill a Mockingbird." The actor has a rescued German Shepherd named Atticus Finch and a puggle named Boo Radley, according to The L.A. Times. They are named after the main characters of the book. Gyllenhaal told Movies Online that after his film "Brokeback Mountain," he felt ready to own a dog.

Photo Credit: GC Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Pet Adoption 101: Expert Tips on Animal Adoptions]]>https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/adoptionhappy.jpg

Welcoming a furry addition to a home can be a fun and exciting event. But ensuring a smooth transition for the pet - and the family - takes some preparation and work. Here are some tips from animal shelters about what to do before, during and after the adoption. 


Make sure everyone in the family wants a pet: Pet ownership can affect many aspects of family life, from deciding who gets to take the puppy out in the middle of the night to making sure everyone understands an animal is a long-term time, emotional and financial investment. And because the pet will be part of the family for the long haul, it's important that everyone is on board about the kind, size and personality of the companion of choice. Shelter experts advise discussing the delegation of responsibilities and going through the process of picking out the pet as a group to avoid problems down the road. “Understand all the responsibilities involved, and pick a time where you can all go pick a pet," said Madeline Bernstein, president of SPCA Los Angeles. "Many people have completely different ideas of what they want.”

Do your research: Experts suggest researching breeds and characteristics to identify animals that best fit your lifestyle before you arrive at the shelter, where you could find yourself falling for a cute cat or dog that wouldn't be a great match. “Some people think Jack Russell Terriers are so cute, but they require a lot of work because they have a lot of energy," Stephanie Knight, communications specialist at SPCA of Texas, said. "So if you don’t go for walks or outside much, you may want to consider getting something like a pug.” It's also smart to research and budget for the costs you'll face when you bring the pet home, such as vaccinations for young animals, license fees and pet supplies. 

Check the requirements: To avoid delays once you meet that perfect pet, shelters recommend looking into what paperwork is required for adoption. This can range from leases or other proof of residency to vet references.  “If you haven’t owned a pet, you can’t have a vet reference, but if we see they have in the past we’ll ask," Mantat Wong, director of operations at Animal Haven in New York said.  While home or apartment renters may be more aware of requirements needed for pets, it is important for homeowners to see if they have any pet restrictions as well. “If you’re a renter you have to be aware of requirements but even as a homeowner, insurance doesn’t always cover larger dogs," said Marc Peralta, executive director of Best Friends Animal Society in Los Angeles. 

Puppy-proof your home: Similar to preparing for a new baby, it is important to make sure a home is safe for a new arrival of a dog or cat. Animals can get into just as much trouble as young children, so working ahead to keep valuables out of reach of the furry friends can save time and money in the end. “Look around and try to figure out what a puppy or kitten can get into, like if you leave your shoes around," said Michelle Groeper, executive director at Tails Humane Society in DeKalb, Illinois. "Take the time to clean up. It’s easier to do a little work ahead of time instead of buy new shoes, because you know your puppy will chew your favorite pair.” It's also recommended that prospective owners purchase as many essential supplies as you can before adopting, such as getting a leash, toys, a bed, or a crate. Getting set up ahead of time can help smooth the transition from the shelter to the home.

Check out the shelter before stepping foot inside: Most shelters have websites that many experts recommend surfing. Beyond looking up requirements needed for adoption, people can see all the animals the shelter currently has to get a better idea of what they're in for. “Look for any animal they have online that may catch your eye,” Groeper said. “It can be overwhelming if you walk in and see all these furry animals.”


Bring your dog if you already have one at home: Many shelters require families to bring any dogs they already have at home for a meet-and-greet with the potential new pet, a policy meant to ensure chemistry between the two animals won't be an issue. “Most places require you to bring your dog," Bernstein said. "They get an idea whether they’re coping with each other. Occasionally the situation shows it’s a bad idea (to bring another dog home) most of the time it works out and helps with an introduction.” 

Check the chemistry with humans, too: While some may have their heart set on a certain breed or look of dog or cat, it's important to keep an open mind when looking for a forever friend. “There’s going to be a lot of dogs, so just go where the chemistry takes you,” Bernstein said. “People have a preconceived idea of what they want and they almost never leave with that.”

Ask questions about the animal: Don't be afraid to ask questions about anything regarding the animal, such as their health history or the situation that put them in a shelter. The more information the shelter can give, the better prepared a family will be when questions arise long after they have left the shelter. “You want to ideally know as much as the shelter knows,” Bernstein said. “You want to know the medical conditions, if they’ve been spayed or neutered, any behavior issues. Anything they can tell you about the animal is useful.”

Bring that paperwork you prepared: Meeting lease requirements for adopting an animal can delay a pet's release for a day or more if the paperwork isn't ready in advance. Many times, the lease is used as confirmation of what is and is not allowed on the property. Without that proof, a family would not be able to bring home their chosen pet the day they picked it out. “Anyone who rents, it saves us a lot of trouble because then we’ll have to call the landlord or building and sometimes they don’t answer,” Wong said. “It’s usually the roadblock that prevents a same day adoption.”


Go to a training class: Puppies and kittens aren't always easy to train, especially when their cuteness gets in the way of efforts to establish boundaries and rules. Taking an obedience class is a simple way to teach an animal the proper way to behave, while also creating an important bond between the animal and its family. “The more you can share a language with your dog, the less behavioral issues there are later on,” Bernstein said. “Making sure the pet is healthy, happy, and taking a training class as a whole family makes it a more enriching experience, and everyone will be happier in the end.”

Don't sweat it if you new pet is shy: Dogs, and especially cats, tend to want to hide when they first get in a new environment.Shelters recommend leaving shy animals alone to get used to their new home on their own terms, which means not following the pet around as they explore. Also, even if they were housebroken in the shelter, animals can revert back to old behavior when scared. “If you see a dog or cat acting funny, it’s most likely because of their new environment,” Knight said. “Especially with cats, it’s in their nature. ... It’s important to remember they do grow out of it.”

Keep asking questions: Many shelters encourage families to call when they need anything -- these are the places that know a lot more about the animal than their new family. It's also good to keep up-to-date with your vet. They can answer health-related questions, as well as give the recommended yearly vaccinations. “We have a behavior department that will answer any questions the adopters have,” Knight said. “Also follow up with your vet, make sure you have your vaccinations every year.”

Track your animal: Animals can stray away from home and get lost, and to make sure it's easier to find your beloved pet, experts recommend registering your animal, or putting a microchip in them. This way if someone finds them and returns them to a shelter, an employee can scan for the pet's unique ID number and contact the pet recovery service, which will connect them with the owner. 

Accept if it’s not a good fit: While some families want an animal and think a breed or specific pet is perfect for them, this isn't always the case. If the animal and family would be happier separated, it's important to talk to the shelter and look into returning the pet. “If it’s not a good fit, we want the animal back,” Peralta said. “Obviously we don’t want to see the animals come back, but in the ‘people world’ sometimes it doesn’t always work out with your high school sweetheart. The same thing can happen in the animal world.”

Send pictures: An easy way to say thanks to a shelter for all their hard work: send photos of the animal in its happy new home. Many workers don't get to say goodbye to animals before they get adopted, so keeping up-to-date with them is affirmation that they went with the right family. “A lot of adopters really understand how much we put in to the animals we care and get attached and want us to be reassured they went to a good home,” Wong said. “This is very thankless job, and it’s such a nice morale boost to hear success stories.”

Photo Credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: Homes for Nearly 20,000 Pets]]>Sat, 23 Jul 2016 10:02:58 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/clear-the-shelters-pets-SPLITSCREEN.jpg

Hannah the pit bull left a Maryland shelter Saturday with her new family and a pink tutu, becoming one of thousands of animals adopted during the Clear the Shelters drive.

The tutu came courtesy of a volunteer at the Humane Society of Calvert County in Sunderland, Maryland, who wanted to dress up the happy pup.

The family – Amanda Krutilla, her 20-month-old son, Jax and her fiancé, Jason Bowles – was united with the dog thanks to the nationwide adoption push. Hannah is Krutilla's second pit bull.

"They're just the biggest babies," said Krutilla, of California, Maryland. "Her tutu defines her."

Nearly 20,000 animals were adopted as part of the nationwide adoption drive sponsored by 11 NBC owned television stations, the New England regional news network necn, and 17 Telemundo owned stations. More than 400 shelters participated, many offering the animals at a reduced price. By the end of the day, 20 shelters reported that they had “cleared” all adoptable animals during the event, which was also sponsored by Overstock.com.

“I am so proud that all of our stations came together with hundreds of animal shelters across the country, with the help of the ASPCA and our friends at Overstock.com, to find thousands of animals in need of their forever homes. We are all so grateful to everyone who opened their homes to these deserving pets on this national day of action,” Valari Staab, president of the NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations division of NBCUniversal, said in a statement.

“Clear the Shelters is an example of how together, we can rally to help save deserving animal lives and in the end make a positive impact across communities nationwide.”

The day had just begun Saturday when a 2-month-old kitten named June was headed out the door of the Patricia H. Ladew Foundation, a cat sanctuary in Oyster Bay, New York.

Kristen Pytell had seen June on Monday with her children, 11-year-old old Harry, Oliver, 9, and Lila, 7, and they knew she would be their first cat.

“My kids and I fell in love with her,” said Pytell, and so they arrived first thing to bring her home.

At the Salem New Hampshire Animal Rescue League, a pit bull named Baby – a 3-year-old surrendered a few weeks ago – was the first headed out the door this morning.

"We are really excited that the first adoption of the day on this great Clear the Shelters initiative was a pit bull," said the shelter’s spokesman, B.J. Bettencourt. "Pit bulls can be a challenge to adopt, so we are thrilled that Baby found a home this morning."

His new owner, Charlie Foote, a retired firefighter turned dog trainer, was not initially heading for the Salem Animal Rescue League. He happened to drive by, stop and spot Baby, who will have a new name by tonight, he said.

"I instantly saw him and said, 'I want that dog,'" he said.

Foote, of Derry, New Hampshire, has four other dogs at home and four children ages 6 to 12. Baby is already fitting in well, if still a little shy, he said Saturday afternoon.

"They have a bad reputation, a bad name," he said. “I have a house full of little kids and these dogs are phenomenal."

Lines quickly formed outside such places as the New Hampshire SPCA in Stratham, New Hampshire, Miami-Dade Florida Animal Services and Prince George’s Animal Services Facility in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Red carpets were laid out so the new owners could be photographed with their furry friends.

The Farago family – Laura, Andrew and 7 1/2-year-old Aaron – left the New Hampshire SPCA with a new puppy, a black lab mix that does not yet have a new name. They had to put their older dog down in the spring.

“We couldn’t last any longer without a dog,” Laura Farago said. “And we wanted our son to grow up with a dog.”

The three of them chose the puppy together, and Aaron was thrilled, she said.

“Oh yes,” she said. “He’s a little tired from the process, but yes.”

In Miami, 13-year-old Zipporah Currie said her new dog, Dolly, smelled like cookies.

The second adoption at the Ladew sanctuary in Oyster Bay was another kitten, Chase. Sarah Freeman and Matthew Boyle wanted a second cat to keep their 5-year-old adoptee Boo company.

“He’s wonderful,” Freeman said of Boo, who was also from the Ladew sanctuary. “He likes to watch the birdies out the window and he likes to hang out with us."

At the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Minty went home with a new family after two years in a shelter. She had been brought to Florida three days ago from out of state.

By the end of the day, at least 20 shelters across the country reported they had been cleared of adoptable animals. 

About 7.6 million animals enter shelters across the country each year, 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Each year an equal number are adopted or euthanized, about 2.7 million in each case. About 649,000 strays are returned to their owners, the majority of them dogs.

Clear the Shelters began in North Texas as a partnership among NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth/KXAS, Telemundo 39 Dallas-Fort Worth/KXTX and dozens of North Texas animal shelters. More than 2,200 homeless animals were adopted in 2014, the most in a single day in North Texas.

Staab hopes that the adoption drive will become an annual event. A recurring drive can help make people aware of how important it is to spay and neuter their pets, she said. And the advance notice will give shelters time to raise money to offset that cost of spaying and neutering and vaccinations, she said.

Photo Credit: NBC
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Teachers Save Kitten Trapped in Car Engine]]>Sat, 15 Aug 2015 12:20:48 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/216*120/08-14-15-Kitten.jpg

A tiny black-and-white kitten that became stuck in a car engine was rescued, and now has a new home, thanks to a group of cat lovers who sprang into action in Cerritos, California, Wednesday afternoon.

Melisande Maytorena, a teacher in the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District, had gone out to lunch with co-workers to celebrate the end of their summer training when they noticed the kitten in the restaurant parking lot.

"He was crying so loud, it was scary, like he was hurt or something," Maytorena said. "He was hiding under one of my colleague's cars."

Maytorena and her co-workers went inside the restaurant to get water for the cat, but when they couldn't coax it out from under the car, decided to leave the water and try again when they were done with lunch.

But when they returned to the parking lot, the kitten was nowhere to be found.

"We couldn't find the cat but a lot of the water had been drunk," Maytorena said. "I told my co-worker, 'Don't start the car, I bet the baby went under the hood.'"

Sure enough, when they popped the hood of the Ford Flex, there was the little kitten. Though Maytorena said they were relieved to have found the cat before they started the car, they began to panic once they realized that no one could fit underneath the hood to reach it.

"We're all cat people so we were freaking out," she said.

That's when a young man who happened to be in the parking lot offered to help, and after more than an hour into the rescue effort, he was able to pull the tiny kitten from the engine.

"We couldn’t believe it," Maytorena said. "The cat was biting and scratching him but he didn’t let go."

Maytorena said the man, whose name they never learned, told them through tears that his own cat had recently died. Though Maytorena, who has two cats herself, was prepared to take the kitten home, once she saw the man holding the little cat she said she knew it was meant to be.

"We all started crying," Maytorena said. "As soon as he hugged the cat, it stopped crying and started purring just like that. It was like he found his human."

<![CDATA[Find Your Shelter and Give a Pet a Loving Home]]>Fri, 04 Mar 2016 17:31:08 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dfw-generic-dog-01.jpg

Thousands of animals in our area are in need of homes. That’s why NBC 4 New York and Telemundo 47 are partnering with dozens of shelters throughout the region to help find these animals permanent loving homes.

Aug. 15, 2015 is “Clear the Shelters” Day, an initiative by NBC-owned stations to help get cats and dogs waiting for new homes successfully adopted. That Saturday, animal shelters from across the tri-state area will take part in “#CleartheShelters” Day.

The ultimate goal of the event is to help as many animals as possible find their perfect match!

Surprisingly, only about 20 percent of people adopting a pet choose a shelter animal. No shelter wants to see any animals caged. Finding these pets quality homes is even more critical during the summer after the populations at shelters swell due to abandoned and surrendered pets following spring births.

Dozens of area shelters have already committed to taking part in “Clear the Shelters” Day on Aug. 15. Please refer the list below to help identify a participating shelter in your area:

New York CIty:


Animal Care of New York City
326 East 110th Street, New York, NY 10029

Animal Care of New York City-Mobile Adoption Manhattan
2475 Broadway at 92nd Street, New York, NY

K9 Kastle
Whiskers Pet Store 235 East 9th St, New York, NY 10003

ASPCA - Shelter
424 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128

ASPCA Adoption Truck
2475 Broadway at 92nd Street, New York, NY

Animal Haven
251 Centre St, New York, NY 10013


Second Chance Rescue Inc.
191-11 Northern Boulevard, Flushing NY 11358


Animal Care of New York City- Mobile Adoption Bronx
Joyce Kilmer Park, Walton Ave., Bronx, NY 10452


Animal Care & Control of New York City - Brooklyn
2336 Linden Boulevard Brooklyn, NY 11208

Staten Island 

Staten Island Hope Animal Rescue
1294 Forest Avenue Staten Island 10302

Animal Care & Control of New York City - Staten Island
3139 Veterans Road West Staten Island, NY 10309

Feline Rescue of Staten Island
Pet Supplies Plus- 965 Richmond Ave, Staten Island, New York 10314


Adopt a Dog
23 Cox Avenue Armonk, NY 10504

Mount Vernon Animal Shelter
600 Garden Ave, Mt Vernon, NY 10550

SPCA of Westchester
590 N State Rd, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510

Orange County:

Humane Society of Port Jervis/Deerpark
202 RT 209, Port Jervis, NY 12771

Warwick Valley Humane Society
48 Public Works Rd, Warwick, NY 10990

Rockland County:

Hi Tor Animal Care Center
65 Firemen's Memorial Dr. Pomona, NY 10970

New Jersey:

Bergen County

Bergen County Animal Services
100 United Lane Teterboro, New Jersey 07608

Ramapo Bergen Animal Refuge, Inc.
2 Shelter Lane Oakland, NJ 07436


Burlington County Animal Shelter
35 Academy Drive Westampton, NJ 08060

Essex County

Montclair Township Animal Shelter
77 North Willow Street Montclair, New Jersey 07042

Associated Humane Societies - Newark
124 Evergreen Ave, Newark, NJ 07114

Mercer County

SAVE, A Friend to Homeless Animals
900 Herrontown Rd, Princeton, NJ 08540

Hudson County

Secaucus Animal Shelter
525 Meadowlands Parkway Secaucus, NJ 07094 

Liberty Humane Society
235 Jersey City Blvd, Jersey City, NJ 07305

Monmouth County

Associated Humane Societies - Tinton Falls
2960 Shafto Rd, Tinton Falls, NJ 07753

Middlesex County

Happy Homes Animal Rescue
**Event will be taking place in Parking Lot**
Edison - 283
1029 US Route 1 South, Edison, NJ



Animal Control Center of Stamford
201 Magee Ave, Stamford, CT 06902

PAWS (Pet Animal Welfare Society)
504 Main Ave, Norwalk, CT 06851

SPCA of Connecticut
359 Spring Hill Monroe, CT 06468-2100

Long Island:

Suffolk County

Town of Brookhaven Animal Shelter & Adoption Center
300 Horseblock Road, Brookhaven, NY 11719

RSVP Inc. Animal Welfare and Rescue Group
The Maples-10 Ryerson Ave, Manorville, NY 11949

Town of Smithtown Animal Shelter
410 East Main Street, Smithtown, NY 11787

North Fork Animal Welfare League - Southold
165 Peconic Lane Peconic, NY 11958

North Fork Animal Welfare League - Riverhead
532 Youngs Avenue Calverton, NY 11933

Southampton Animal Shelter
102 Old Riverhead Rd W, Hampton Bays, NY 11946

Friends of Freddie Pet Rescue
206 Middle County Road, Middle Island, NY 11953

Town of Babylon Animal Shelter
51 Lamar St, West Babylon, NY 11704

Nassau County 

North Shore Animal League
25 Davis Avenue, Port Washington, NY 11050

Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter
3320 Beltagh Ave, Wantagh, NY 11793

Patricia H. Ladew Foundation
34 Hamilton Ave, Oyster Bay, NY 11771

Posh Pets Rescue Long Beach
770 Park Place, Long Beach NY

All About Spay Neuter Inc.
4209 Merrick Road, Massapequa, NY 11758




Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Better Get Baquero: Apps for Dog Owners]]>Wed, 12 Aug 2015 19:08:44 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/dog+apps.jpgLynda Baquero takes a look at some of the top apps for dog owners and their four-legged friends.]]><![CDATA[Unbelievable Gifts for Your New Pet]]>https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/214*120/Senses-Wellness-center-header-EN.jpg

Found your perfect pet match?

The next step is spoiling your newest family member with new toys and treats.

While budgeting the cost of caring for a pet is serious business, some pet lovers spare no expense when it comes to making purchases for their furry friend. Pet owners across the U.S. spend billions on their beloved pets—and not just kibble and catnip. 

From high-tech gadgets to gourmet treats, here are some gifts you can get for your pet: 

Cat Massager ($21.99)

After a long day of catnaps and clawing scratching posts, a cat needs to unwind. The Senses 2.0 Wellness center includes brushes, textures and massage ridges to help your cat groom and relax. The massager even has a gum stimulator that works like a cat toothbrush. 

FitBark ($54.95)

Help your pet get that perfect beach body. FitBark allows you to covert your dog's everyday activity into points and you track your pup's fitness progress. If the FitBit shows your dog has been lying around the house all day, you can head out to the park or take other steps to get your dog into healthier patterns.The FitBark comes with a monitor, a collar band, and a charging cord. 

Cat Puzzle ($12.95)

Let your cat stimulate its brain with a good old-fashioned puzzle. The Cat Amazing puzzle encourages your pet to stay busy by trying to remove shapes from holes in a box. The interactive cat toy is ideal for kittens with developing minds and a lot of energy.  

Puppy Tweets ($29.99)

Just about anyone can have a Twitter these days — even your dog. Puppy Tweets is an electronic dog collar attachment that is triggered to send tweets whenever your pup moves or barks. If you ever wonder what your dog is doing while you are away, Puppy Tweet is one way to find out. The dog’s activity can send one of 500 tweets, for example, when they bark, you may get a tweet that says, “Bark…and the whole neighborhood barks with you!” 

Cat DJ Scratching Deck ($35.00, plus $22.00 shipping)

Let your cat get a piece of electronic music craze. DJs have been scratching vinyls for decades, and cats have been scratching everything... since the beginning of time. The Cat DJ Scratching Deck dulls down cat claws and looks like your cat is about to drop the bass.

Snuggie for Dogs ($14.99)

A lazy Sunday calls for curling up with your dog in matching snuggies. The snuggie — a blanket with sleeves — can even be worn outside, if you are worried about your pet's legs getting chilly in the cold. The garment, made of "ultra-warm, machine washable fleece," comes in blue or pink. 

$1,000 Jerky Treats ($1,000.00)

Even pets can have exquisite taste. This $1,000 jerky is made with all-natural Kobe beef infused with truffle oil. Organic Pet Boutique donates a percentage of the proceeds to Best Friends Animal Society, the nation's largest no-kill shelter. Don't count on your high-end pooch going back to store-brand treats after this gift.

Beer for Dogs ($19.99)

Dogs are man’s best friend, so why not share a cold one with your pet? Crack open a Bowser Beer to flavor your dog's water or kibble. Bowser Beer allows owners to customize the beer bottles with a picture of their dogs, because who wouldn't enjoy a nice K-9 Lite? Don't worry: Your dog can still be the designated walker — Bowser Beer contains no alcohol. 

Tinkle Tush ($5.99)

Tinkle Tush is responsible for making a fashionable accessory for your cat's behind. "Tinkle Tush is a jewel you hang from your cat's tail. Add some bling to your cat's bum and watch them strut their stuff," the company's website reads. The self-described "gag gift" is available online. Cats need a little sparkle in their lives, even if they can't see it.

Food Tree ($25.99)

It's not uncommon for cats to eat too quickly. The Senses Food Tree is a feeding solution that makes your cat work for its food. It is designed with a narrow opening intended for cats to playfully paw through various sides for stray pellets collected at the bottom. 

<![CDATA[122 Cats Rescued from 'Filthy' Pennsylvania Home]]>Fri, 14 Aug 2015 19:58:29 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/122+Cats+SPCA.png

Animal control officials say they have rescued 122 cats and kittens from a squalid Pennsylvania home and transported them to a North Philadelphia facility for medical evaluations.

Sgt. Nicole Wilson says officers with the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and authorities in Henryville were tipped off to the home where cats were found living in "filthy, flea-infested conditions'' with untreated injuries.

Officials say the homeowners had planned on opening a sanctuary but were unable to keep up with the cats' rapid rate of reproduction.

PSPCA CEO Jerry Buckley says it's admirable that the homeowners wanted to help homeless animals but they were clearly overwhelmed.

The owners voluntarily surrendered the animals.

The cats, most of which are kittens, will be made available for adoption after their health checks. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York

Photo Credit: Philadelphia SPCA]]>
<![CDATA[Finding Forever Homes: Clear the Shelters Adoption Drive Set for Saturday]]>Thu, 13 Aug 2015 18:06:02 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/pinot-noir-final.jpg

If you’re looking for a dog to adopt in Chicago, Isis likes car rides, people of all ages and balls. The 3-year-old brindle pit bull terrier, named after the Egyptian goddess, is at the Famous Fido Rescue & Adoption Alliance and needs a home.

At San Francisco’s Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, Dahlia and Rockie ended up homeless when their owner died. Both Maltese, and about 8 and 10 years old, they cuddle and wrestle with blankets.

And in Brewster, Massachusetts, at the shelter of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, Pinot Noir is a 2-year-old formerly stray cat who plays with most any toy he’s given.

Those animals and thousands of other dogs and cats will be available on Saturday as part of Clear the Shelters, an adoption initiative sponsored by 11 NBC owned television stations, the New England regional news network necn, and 17 Telemundo owned stations. More than 400 shelters are making animals available throughout the day, many at a reduced cost. 

“It’s a way we actually can save animals’ lives,” said Valari Staab, the president of NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations. “This time of year, shelters are very crowded.”

With the cost of adoption up to $450 in some cities, families cannot always afford a new pet, she said.

“So hopefully we can put the two things together — get an animal a good home and get a family who can’t afford the initial outlay on a pet to take in a pet,” she said.

About 7.6 million animals enter shelters across the country each year, 3.9 million dogs and 3.4 million cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Each year an equal number are adopted or euthanized, about 2.7 million for each case. About 649,000 strays are returned to their owners, the majority of them dogs.

The ASPCA focuses on keeping animals in the homes that they already have, getting animals spayed or neutered and finding homes for animals in shelters.

“These adoption events are hugely important for that,” said Emily Weiss, the ASPCA’s vice president of research and development.

It is participating through its New York City shelter and it has awarded grants totaling $114,000 to 15 other groups to help them waive or discount their adoption fees.

While millions of animals end up in shelters, the numbers are actually falling, Weiss said.

“In some parts of the country, it’s better than others, so in places in the Northeast they tend to be among the best regarding the level of intake so fewer animals are coming in,” she said.

The ASPCA and other shelters now work together to move animals from areas where there are more strays that will more likely be euthanized to areas where they will have a better chance of adoption, she said. The differences are likely due to weather — warmer temperatures can mean more litters —and the acceptance of spaying and neutering, she said.

Clear the Shelters began in North Texas as a partnership among NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth / KXAS, Telemundo 39 Dallas-Fort Worth / KXTX and dozens of North Texas animal shelters. More than 2,200 homeless animals were adopted in 2014, the most in a single day in North Texas.

For this year’s nationwide effort, information about participating animal shelters and their hours can be found by visiting Cleartheshelters.com or this page. 

Some cities will livestream the new pet owners walking out with the furry additions to their families. In the run-up to Saturday, countless celebrities, news personalities and animal lovers have shared pictures of their own pets using the #cleartheshelters hashtag. Staab, Bravo's Andy Cohen,  "NBC Nightly News" anchor Lestor Holt, talk show hosts Steve Harvey and Meredith Vieira, former "Hills" star and "1st Look" host Audrina Patridge, and Hoda Kotb and Natalie Morales of "Today" have all tweeted their support. Morales will host a 30-minute special on Aug. 22 to recap the results. 

Staab said she hopes that the adoption drive would become an annual event and to further that goal next year’s date has already been set: July 16. A recurring drive can help make people aware of how important it is to spay and neuter their pets, she said.

And the advance notice will give shelters time to raise money to offset that cost of spaying and neutering and vaccinations, she said.

“So we can get the pets at low cost for families,” she said.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Homeless, Dying Veteran Reunited With Service Dog]]>Thu, 13 Aug 2015 12:20:46 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/162*120/081215_harry-and-olivia.JPG

For 53-year-old Harry Brown, a homeless veteran with terminal pancreatic cancer, life has dealt some difficult blows. But a trip to Long Beach to say goodbye to family and friends proved especially devastating when his beloved service dog, Olivia, wandered away while he napped in a park 10 days ago.

As soon as he realized she was gone, Brown began searching for Olivia high and low, and even walked from Long Beach to Orange County to search animal shelters after being told the city didn’t have one of its own.

Brown posted a lost dog ad on Craigslist, but after days of searching for Olivia with no luck, said he began to give up hope.

"We spent as long as we could trying to find her," Brown said. "I’d just gotten rid of all her stuff because I didn’t think I’d see her again."

Having been given a year to live, Brown had traveled from Phoenix to Long Beach to see family and friends there one last time, something he plans to do across the country in coming months.

Once it seemed his beloved brown-and-white pitbull was nowhere to be found, Brown had no choice but to take the bus back to Arizona as originally planned.

"I just kept praying she would be with someone who would take care of her," Brown said.

Fortunately, Olivia was eventually found wandering the streets of Long Beach, and was taken to the local animal shelter where she was looked after while staff searched for her owner.

Meanwhile, Brown’s Craigslist ad caught the attention of an animal rescue group called Captain Care, and soon volunteers and donors from across Southern California rallied to reunite the veteran with his service dog.

"I got an email back, it says 'Your girl is in L.A. County, go get her,'" Brown said.

The nonprofit used donations to pay for Brown's bus ticket back to Long Beach, and to bail Olivia out of the shelter, too.

Brown arrived in Los Angeles Wednesday and was tearfully reunited with Olivia, who he described as more than just man's best friend.

"She’s my life," he said.

Now that Brown and Olivia have been reunited, Captain Care volunteers plan to use the extra donations to help spay and feed Olivia, and make Brown's cross-country journey to say goodbye to family and friends just a little easier.

Donations for Brown and Olivia can be made to Captain Care Intervention at mycaptaincare.org.  

Photo Credit: Hetty Chang]]>
<![CDATA[Clear the Shelters: The Benefits of Owning a Pet]]>Tue, 11 Aug 2015 19:36:21 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000008207994_1200x675_502454339605.jpgPet ownership can benefit anyone but especially kids and the elderly. Telemundo 47's Nadia Torres reports.]]><![CDATA[Better Get Baquero: TIps On Keeping Your Dog Healthy]]>Tue, 11 Aug 2015 19:13:40 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/WNBC_000000008207827_1200x675_502441027858.jpgOn August 15th, NBC4 is teaming up with local shelters to find loving homes for as many animals as possible. And, it's important to remember your four legged friends with it comes to health insurance and annual exams. Consumer Reporter Lynda Baquero has more.]]><![CDATA[Each Pet Adoption Saves 2 Animals’ Lives]]>Wed, 05 Aug 2015 16:05:39 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Heidi+shelter+story+1200.jpg

In the adoption screening room at the Connecticut Humane Society’s Newington location, a tiny orange furball turned on the charm for Carrie Jackson and her two daughters.

“We have a house full of animals already but we love to add more to our house,” said Jackson, of Wallingford, as she watched her daughters play with the energetic long-haired kitten. “Because they are loving pets that need homes.”

But the little orange puffball isn’t the only little guy at this shelter looking for a forever home.

The Connecticut Humane Society takes in more than 5,000 pets a year between its three locations — including kittens and cats, puppies and dogs, gerbils, hamsters, even a pig here and there.

With each one animal adopted, two lives are saved.

“They’re saving the life of the pet they bring home into their family, and they’re saving the life of another pet that’s waiting to get into the shelter,” said Alicia Wright, public relations director for the organization.

Summer is a crowded time at the shelter, with spring litters just reaching an adoptable age, and a seemingly endless line of animals surrendered, abandoned or transferred from local animal shelters. The hope is for every animal to find a loving, permanent home.

By the time a pet is ready to be adopted from Connecticut Humane Society, it’s already had all necessary veterinary work, including vaccinations, and has been spayed and neutered. Things like dental work, behavioral evaluation and training if needed, microchipping, starter food, collars and leashes and other perks are all covered in the adoption fee. On the open market, those costs could easily exceed $700 on average, Wright said, making an adoption fee a bargain in comparison.

“Those are things that you would have to pay for at the veterinarian on your own if you adopted a pet from the streets or if you decided to go to a breeder or something like that,” Wright explained.

Families ready to make the commitment need to fill out necessary paperwork and meet with an adoption counselor to ensure the best pet choice for their family and household. People who already own dogs might be asked to bring in their existing pet to meet the prospective adoptee under supervision to make sure it’s a good match.

Some adoptions can happen on the same day, like it did during Carrie Jackson’s trip to the shelter.

“This is the one, yes,” she said as she watched the orange kitten scamper around. “I mean, they’re all ‘the one,’ but this is the one going home with us today.”

With the decision made, only one question remained. What to name him?

Daughters Hannah and Hope furrowed their brows, deep in thought.

“Umm … Donut or Munchkin or something like that!” they said.

<![CDATA[From Shackled Dog to Adopted Friend: Trooper's Recovery Story]]>Wed, 05 Aug 2015 06:25:26 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Trooper+Dog+Shackle+Adopted+Rescue.jpg

An animal cruelty survivor has found a loving home two months after veterinarians removed a shackle from the then emaciated dog's neck.

On #TransformationTuesday, the Delaware County SPCA showed off a photo of Trooper with his new owner David Byrd, someone who has fostered large-breed dogs before. Byrd took in Trooper so that the dog could socialize and continue to recover. With the bond between Byrd's other dogs and Trooper evident, Byrd decided to permanently adopt Trooper, said SPCA spokeswoman Justina Calgiano.

Trooper — now a 10-month-old Great Dane with his tongue out and his body looking full — is a far cry from the sad-faced dog that could barely walk when he came to the Delco SPCA in early June.

The SPCA found Trooper in Darby, Pennsylvania, on June 4. He was badly emaciated to the point where animal officers had trouble determining his breed at first. 

The Delco SPCA asked anyone who could help “put meat on those bones” to donate. And, after two months, Trooper's health was to the point where he could be adopted.

Trooper found a home as humane officers continued to search for the dog's abuser. A $1,500 reward remains for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Anyone with information is asked to call 610-566-1370, ext. 214.

Photo Credit: Dot O’Connor
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[NJ Humane Society Unveils New Dog Park]]>Mon, 10 Aug 2015 19:13:52 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/liberty+humane.jpgPets at the Liberty Humane Society got their first run in the park on Monday. Tracie Strahan reports.]]><![CDATA[Helping Your New Shelter Dog Adjust]]>https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/CTS-2015-AcclimatingYourDog-Fixed_1200x675_505037891838.jpg

The first thing you might want to do after you bring a new dog home from the shelter is also something you probably shouldn't do: invite all your friends over to meet the cute pup.

Instead, you should first make sure that your dog is comfortable with its new surroundings. Then, invite one friend over at a time to make sure you don't overwhelm the dog.

That's just one tip that can help your dog adjust to their new home. Watch the video above to learn more. 

<![CDATA[Tips for Helping Your New Shelter Dog Adjust]]>Mon, 30 Jul 2018 09:54:16 -0400https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/1-Intro-7Tips.jpg

When you bring your new shelter dog home, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First up: learn how to read your pup's body language to know his or her mood.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>