Press & Events

Equine News: Salt and Hay

SaltSalt and Hay Needed for Free-Roaming Horses

In September, Kentucky Humane Society staff and volunteers visited free-roaming horses in Eastern Kentucky. These are not wild horses, but domestic horses that have been turned out to fend for themselves on Kentucky’s coal reclamation sites. Some are owned, others are abandoned, and still others were born there and are feral.

While many of the horses were fat and sleek from summer grazing, others were not faring so well. Many suffered from hoof, teeth, eye or skin issues. Many mares were nursing not just this year’s foal, but yearlings as well – further depleting their overwhelmed bodies.

The one thing they all had in common? They were starved for salt. Salt is an essential nutrient for horses. Horses with extreme salt deprivation may experience muscle incoordination and may stop eating and may not drink enough to stay hydrated.

The KHS Equine CARE (connect, assist, rescue and educate) team distributed salt blocks to five herds totaling more than 200 horses. What the team saw astounded them.

“I have never seen horses so hungry for salt before,” says Lori Redmon, KHS President and CEO. “Many of the horses were kicking and shoving each other, trying to get to the salt blocks. This is not normal herd behavior. It was clear they were desperate for the nutrient.”

In the winter, free-roaming horses often leave their mountain pastures to lick the salt off of cars and roads – creating a dangerous hazard for motorists.

To help protect horses and people alike, the Equine CARE team is distributing salt and hay to free-roaming horses this winter. But they need help. Horses can eat up to four bales of hay a week and a 50-pound salt block every two weeks. It costs $5 for each bale of hay and $5 for every salt block.

Want to help support our salt and hay drive? Please give online at kyhumane.org/equine-donate. If you prefer to mail a check, make it payable to KHS and write “horses” on the memo line. Mail to: Kentucky Humane Society, 1000 Lyndon Lane, Louisville, KY 40222.

 

Equine CARE: One Year Anniversary

A year ago this month, the Kentucky Humane Society announced the creation of its Equine CARE (connect, assist, rescue and educate) program, which is dedicated to helping Kentucky’s horses. It’s been a busy first year! During this time, KHS has:

  • Gelded 69 stallions in Eastern Kentucky, ensuring fewer free-roaming and unwanted horses will be born. Gelding is the term for castration of a male horse. Our gelding clinics are funded by the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
  • Saved 25 orphaned foals. These foals lost their mothers at just a few days old. Without KHS’ assistance, most would have died.
  • Removed 12 horses from dangerous situations and have already found 11 of them loving homes.

We were able to save these horses thanks to generous donors who support our lifesaving mission. Thank you for your support!

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Keep Your Pet Happy in Inclement Weather

By Shelby Schulz, Pet Help Line Coordinator

When the weather outside is frightful, our pets are still ready to play! Physical exercise and mental stimulation are just as important in the winter months but can be tougher when outside activities are limited. However, you can keep your pet active and engaged in your home.

Dogs

Flirt Pole: A flirt pole lets you wear your pup out and reinforce good manners. As a bonus, it takes almost no energy from you, but gets your dog running! It looks like an oversized “fishing pole” cat toy. You can buy it online or make one yourself. We have a quick tutorial on our blog, kyhumane.org/blog.

Once you get a pole, have your dog sit, leave the toy, and then give the cue to chase it. Maneuver the pole in a circle or side to side and let your dog chase the toy. Allow your dog to catch it and have a moment to enjoy his victory. Then have your dog drop the toy, and start over again. End the play session by trading the toy for a tasty treat.
Puzzle Toys: Puzzle toys are a great way to keep your dog mentally stimulated. There are a variety of toys on the market and many you can make. (See our blog for a simple DIY puzzle toy.) Puzzle toys keep him entertained by requiring him to figure out how to release or find the hidden treats. It is important to start with easy toys and progress to harder ones. If your dog cannot figure out the toy, he may become disinterested. Toys can be found in pet stores, and Pinterest has many DIY versions.

Kibble Hunt: This game is a great way to keep your dog occupied mentally and physically. Hide your dog’s kibble around the house. Start by hiding the treats so they are easy to find. As your dog starts to understand the game, make the hiding spots harder.

Cats

Ball Pit: This is an easy and low-cost way to keep your cat active and entertained. Take a handful of ball-style cat toys. Put them in your bathtub. Entice your cat into the bathtub with treats. When she is in the tub, roll the balls around. Once your cat gets into the game, she will keep it going herself as the balls roll in the tub.

Puzzle Toys: Puzzle toys aren’t just for dogs! Pet stores and Pinterest have plenty of puzzles just for felines. Here’s how to make my favorite DIY cat puzzle toy: Cut the top off a tissue box. Stack and glue toilet paper rolls to fill the box. Hide cat treats in random toilet paper roll compartments. Your cat will have to figure out which hold treats and pull them out!

Box Castle: Wondering what to do with leftover boxes? Make fun hideouts for your cat! Build a tunnel with windows, a maze, a castle. The Internet is sure to give you some ideas. Your cat will have fun exploring your construction, and you might get some laughs out of her shenanigans.

Ask the Experts

Got a pet-related question? Call our Pet Help Line to receive free advice and connect to local pet resources, (502) 509-4PET or visit kyhumane.org/help. Our Pet Help Line is made possible by grants from the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the Banfield Foundation. The Pet Help Line is designed to help keep pets in their homes and out of shelters by giving owners the tools they need to have healthy relationships with their pets.

Helping Pets

Cat1KHS Staffer Rescues Kitten

Last September, a Kentucky Humane Society employee was driving home when she learned a tiny kitten had been struck by a car. Sadly, no one had stopped to help. Not willing to let the kitten die alone by the side of the road, Kelly decided she had to try to find that kitten. She pulled over and talked with a guard near the Amazon fulfillment center. He told Kelly where the accident had happened, and she began her search.

After diligently searching in the long grass, Kelly finally located the kitten. What she found left her speechless: the poor, three-month-old Torbie mix was covered in blood. One of her front legs was mangled and hung limp. Her other front leg appeared damaged as well, but the kitten was able to use it to hobble. She had multiple spots where her fur had been scraped or rubbed off from the car’s impact, and her eye was swollen. Her gums were extremely pale, but luckily, she had not gone into shock.

Kelly – an Admissions Technician accustomed to handling sick and injured animals – decided to take the tiny kitten home. The next day, Kelly brought “Flicka” to KHS where she was able to receive the medical care and attention she needed and deserved.

Flicka spent the next month in foster care with Kelly, where she healed and began to enjoy life again. Despite the damage done to her limbs from the car’s impact, Flicka learned to walk, climb, pounce and do many other things normal kittens do.

After Flicka received a clean bill of health from the KHS veterinarian, Kelly decided she couldn’t part with the kitten. Kelly adopted Flicka and welcomed her into her forever home, where she will always be loved and cared for.

500th Working Cat Adopted

cat2In November, the Kentucky Humane Society adopted out its 500th working cat. The Working Cat Program, which began in 2011, finds outdoor homes in barns, stables, even factories and breweries for cats who for some reason are unable to be adopted to an indoor-only home.
Some cats, like Salt, are loving companions but just never got the hang of using a litter box or prefer to be indoor/outdoor cats. Others may be feral or semi-feral and find that too much time with people is stressful. Whatever their reason, these cats thrive in their new homes. Our Working Cats work for a living, helping with rodent populations. In return, owners provide food, water, shelter and veterinary care to the cats.

To learn more about this lifesaving program, visit kyhumane.org/working-cats.

Safety Net Programs

Helping Pets and Owners

The Kentucky Humane Society is a leader in “pet safety net programs,” which provide assistance to pet owners so they can keep their beloved pets. When pets stay in their homes and out of shelters, everyone wins: the pet who doesn’t want to leave, their owner who loves them, and the shelter that can focus on animals who truly need the help. Here are just a few ways we are assisting pets and the people who love them.

Beloved Dogs Stay in Their Home

When Linda Spencer contacted KHS, she was ready to surrender her dog. Molly was a rambunctious Pit Bull/Hound mix who could knock Linda down and who was a destructive chewer. In addition, Molly was not spayed, and male dogs were very interested in her. Linda could not afford puppies or the spay procedure.

KHS Pet Help Line Coordinator Shelby Schulz spoke to Linda about her issues with Molly. As they talked, Shelby learned more about Linda and Linda’s other dog, Mickey, a neutered Chihuahua whom Linda adopted after his owner died. Shelby learned that Mickey was a door darter who, in the past, had been turned in as a stray to local shelters numerous times.
Shelby believes in establishing relationships with her callers. She has found that listening and learning more about the person and the issue sometimes brings to light possible solutions.

Shelby offered Linda a free voucher for Molly’s spay surgery and gave Linda a crate to use for crate training. Shelby also offered Linda advice for Mickey’s door-darter ways and provided collars and identification tags for both dogs.

After Molly’s spay surgery and with crate training, Linda feels she can keep her. “If it weren’t for the help Shelby provided, I don’t think we could have kept Molly, but now we can,” Linda says with relief in her voice.

The KHS Pet Help Line, 502-509-4PET, provides free behavioral advice over the phone and referrals to local pet resources to thousands of local pet owners a year. This proactive pet retention program supports owners so they can keep their pets in their homes and out of shelters. Anyone can call to receive free advice on any pet-related questions.

Senior Gets to Keep Companion

Donna Key was at her wit’s end when she contacted KHS. Donna is a senior citizen living on a fixed income. Her husband passed away several years ago, and she adopted Toby, a Jack Russell Terrier/Beagle mix, to keep her company.

Toby has always been dog reactive, but Donna was not concerned about it when she lived in a house with a yard. Recently, some health complications required she move into a senior living apartment complex. The complex is dog-friendly, and Toby was barking and straining at the leash at other dogs every time she tried to take him for a walk. It was getting to the point that she wasn’t sure she could keep him.

Donna called our Behavior Manager, Kat Rooks, to ask about private training. Living on a fixed income, she couldn’t afford our normal rates. However, grants from the ASPCA gave us funds to help those with limited resources.

“I wish that I had a recording of the joy in her voice when I told her that we would be able to help. We both ended up in tears (happy ones) by the end of the conversation,” says Kat.

Donna and Toby completed two private lessons. She can now walk him through the lobby of her apartment building without issue, and his comfort level with other dogs has improved to the point that he even had a play session with our trainer’s dog. This was the first time Donna had ever seen Toby play with another dog.

Thanks to the ASPCA, we can help families like Donna and Toby. We are grateful for their support.

Barron Finds Faith

Dogs Receive Comfort from Each Other

Barron-FaithA couple saw his glowing eyes along the side of the road as they drove down a dark, rural highway in Eastern Kentucky. It was a bitterly cold night last January.

Barron, a young Beagle mix with velvety ears, was lying there shivering next to the frozen, snow-covered body of another dog. A dog clearly loved by Barron.

When a local rescuer who was called to the scene tried to move him, Barron cried out and strained to get back to his deceased friend.

“When I did get the leash around his neck and tried pulling him away, he instantly started crying,” Sheena Maynard of Dumas Rescue told reporter Ryan Cummings from WDRB. “He tried to dig his way back to the mate, and then he covered back over it and cried.”

It was heartbreaking. The dog was inconsolable, apparently consumed with grief. Eventually, Sheena picked him up and carried him to her car.

“He stretched his neck out of the window and then cried until we got out of sight,” she said.

Sheena tried to comfort the grieving dog. That night, she offered him more food than he could possibly eat. She gave him toys and blankets. But he barely lifted his head. The next morning, the dog – whom Sheena named Barron – was no better.

Sheena wanted to do something to help this poor dog. He needed to fill the void that was left in his heart. She had an idea: She called animal rescue friends to see if anyone had a dog she could introduce to Barron. Perhaps Barron could bond with a new dog who could help him heal from his grief.

That afternoon, she received a gentle Lab mix. She had a soft, creamy coat and a friendly smile. She, too, had suffered loss: she was without a family of her own.

“I had a feeling when I looked into those eyes that she was exactly what Barron needed,” Sheena said.

She decided to name the dog Faith.

Sheena introduced Barron to Faith, and the two instantly became best friends. They did everything together: they ate together, slept together, played together.

After a few days with Sheena, the bonded pair came to the Kentucky Humane Society. Our mission: to find the perfect home for them – together.

Deb Corbett, a science teacher at Assumption High School, was on the KHS website one evening after work. A student had told her about a dog at KHS looking for a home. Deb and her husband, Tim, always have five dogs. Two of their dogs had recently passed away, so there was suddenly an “opening” for two more.

“The universe has decided that five dogs is how many we should have,” says Deb with a gentle laugh. The Corbetts live in a rural area of Southern Indiana where their rescue dogs enjoy romping and playing in their fenced property.

On the KHS website, Deb read about Barron and Faith, the two dogs who had found comfort in each other. She was moved by their story. She felt their sweet personalities would fit in well with her current pack. The Corbetts brought their resident dogs in to meet Barron and Faith. The dogs got along great, and the family decided to adopt the loving Beagle and gentle Labrador mix.

A year later, the dogs are still the best of friends.

“Barron and Faith are still bonded to each other,” says Deb. “Faith treats Barron like her baby – she loves to groom him.”

But the dogs have also bonded with the pack. Each evening, Deb takes all five dogs for a walk. After a long adventure, each is eager to return home, where they fall asleep in a pile together and have happy doggy dreams.