Big Trouble in North Carolina

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To start our series on puppy mills and the ongoing puppy mill problem in NC, we asked Kim Kreem to contribute information.  Her story is very powerful, about a little dog named Laila that came from a puppy mill.  Together they are working to change the laws in NC regarding puppy mills.

I become involved in this effort when our world was turned upside down by a little 13 week old boxer who came to live with us on Christmas Eve. Three weeks earlier, at 10wks old, her breeder brought her to a local vet to be euthanized. She was unresponsive, starved at only 3lbs, suffering from an infection from a past bite wound on her back lower leg. The infection had invaded her skin, tissue, muscles, tendons and bones. The vet convinced the breeder to relinquish ownership to them. She did so and left little Laila there, in her eyes dead and disposable. Laila was quickly gotten into rescue with the help of Wake County Animal Control, her life saved by Rescue Ur Forever Friend Rescue and very generous donors, but lost the fight to save her leg. Animal Control followed up with the breeder and found Laila’s 8 starved siblings and both of her parents living in a small, unsanitary space. It’s likely the male was frustrated with the situation and bit Laila. The case went to court, the breeder failed to comply with court orders several times to get deferred sentencing for her 9 cases of abuse and neglect, but got 5 continuances, 5 chances to comply, so her record will look as if nothing ever happened.

We knew that we had to start somewhere helping with the puppy mill issue. It’s difficult to get people to get involved with a cause when they can’t put a face on the suffering. Laila puts a face on the suffering, and she reminds people that what happened to her is happening in masses on one single puppy mill. We take her all over the State to events, college campuses, concerts, fundraisers, anywhere that will allow us to set up a tent and share info on how badly we need commercial breeder legislation.

This legislation was fought and shot down 4 years ago, with the backing and lobbying of special interest groups like the NC Pork Council, Farm Bureau, AKC, Sportsman Association. If you look at the senior Senators campaign financing, you will find many are receiving contributions from these groups. The NC Pork Council was brazen enough to state publicly to the media that the only reason they fought Commercial Breeder Legislation was because it was presented by the HSUS. They are worried that if we pass laws to benefit companion animals, that the HSUS will push for laws to benefit animals in the agricultural industry as well. Well, this time, it’s being backed by the HSUS, but presented by NC Voters for Animal Welfare. ( Concerned citizens like me, law enforcement officers, Animal control officers, people from all walks of life, who are sick and tired of seeing the suffering while our Representatives turn a blind eye. The majority of those raided mills have AKC registered dogs coming out of them, some having been inspected and reprimanded by the AKC with no follow up. Many think the AKC is there to protect the dogs, but they obviously are unable to assure the health and well being of these dogs that have been suffering under their name.

When I do outreach, the public is usually shocked and have no idea that there are no laws preventing these horrid living conditions. Senior Senators will defend their lack of action by saying, “See, look at all the raids, are laws are working”. Sadly, they don’t tell the story of how many dogs died and suffered for years that it took to find them and build a case against their breeder. The laws aren’t there to protect the animals, they are there to slap the hand if the animals are ever found. Most people think the need for this is obvious, but have no idea that there are special interest groups who are the undercurrent to wash the bill off the House floor. For the first time ever, we, the people, have formed our own lobbying special interest group via the NC Voters for Animal Welfare, called the Political Action Committee. We are asking for donations for our lobbying, to financially support the campaigns of Representatives who have agreed to fight for Commercial Breeder Legislation and other animal welfare issues. So when the 2013 Session rolls around, it will be a very exciting time, but also a scary time. It may be the last chance we get to stand up for these dogs, and we’re in for a big fight again. That’s why we need to bring awareness to this issue and ask others to support the PAC.

What most don’t know, even those opposing the Commercial Breeder Legislation, is that it’s pretty basic and minimal, compared to what the animals deserves. It defines a commercial breeder, as someone with 10 or more intact females for the purpose of breeding to sell to the public, excluding hunting dogs and show dogs. And it’s asking to amend the already present SB-J standards required of boarding facilities, shelters and doggie day cares to included those commercial breeders to adhere to the same standards. So it’s not rocket science, it’s not fluffy beds and kongs for everyone, it’s basic shelter from the elements, food, water, and vet care. Why deny any companion animal that? Respectable breeders who love and cherish their animals wouldn’t argue that point at all.


Kim Kreem

Community Outreach – NCVAW



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I thought we needed some good stories this morning… I never get tired of reading about some of these dogs.


Olga, a 22-year-old woman in Saratov, Russia took her dog and her baby son Vadim to a park and met up with friends. After a few drinks, Olga went home and left her baby behind! Luckily, her dog Lada was with the baby. Olga woke the next morning and realized the child was missing. She thought Vadim had been abducted, but her father went to the park and found the baby in his pram, with Lada still beside him. The rottweiler had stood guard over him all night long. Vadim was wet and hungry, but unharmed, and was placed in the care of his grandmother.
Omar Eduardo Rivera is a blind computer technician who uses a guide dog. On September 11, 2001, Rivera was working on the 71st floor of the World Trade Center when a plane hit the building above him. His dog Dorado was under Rivera’s desk, as usual. As the building evacuation began, Rivera smelled the smoke and heard the chaos in the stairwell. He took the Labrador retriever’s leash off, so the dog could escape. Dorado ignored Rivera’s order to go ahead, and escorted his master down 70 flights of stairs. They were separated by the rush of the crowd for a few minutes, but Dorado found his way back to Rivera and continued down the stairs. They reached the ground about an hour after they began the descent, only a few minutes before the building collapsed.

A German spitz named Rowan was born without eyes, but gets around almost as well as a sighted dog. Rowan learned to use the reverberations of his bark to determine where objects are in the great outdoors. This is a version of echolocation, in which a blind person (or dog, in this case) creates a mental map by comparing the way sound bounces back in an echo. Rowan was not taught to “see” this way, but his owners noticed how his behavior outside changed when the trees filled out with leaves. Most people who meet Rowan don’t even realize he is blind -they just wonder why he keeps his eyes shut

Read the full text here:

–brought to you by mental_floss! 

Who are your hero pets???

Susie’s Journey

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Come out Saturday April 14th at Buffalo Wings and Rings for Susie’s Jam 2012! All proceeds will go to Susie’s Hope to benefit animals!
Hope to see you there!

Myths about Pet Sitting

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MYTH 1: Pet Sitters are always more expensive than boarding.

Not necessarily. It does sound like it would be infinitely pricier to have someone privately come to your home several times a day to shower your pet with personal attention, food, treats and exercise, but, actually, it’s not. Actual rates depend on the pet sitter and local kennel, but at the very least, you’re looking at very comparable prices. According to the American Boarding Kennel Association, an average daily rate hovers around $23-26 per pet, per day. Of course, that doesn’t count the walks, extra attention, pampering and house sitting benefits that petsitters provide. When it’s all said and done, which is the better value for you?

MYTH 2: My pet will get lonely and depressed sitting at home.

While there’s no doubt that Mr. Sprinkles will miss you while you’re away, it’s unlikely that he will be hurled into a spiraling, deep depression because you’re gone for a few days. Pets are often much happier when they are in the comfortable environment of their own home as opposed to an unfamiliar kennel. Add to this an enthusiastic visitor who brings treats and toys every several hours, and you’ll get an insanely giddy pet who probably spends his downtime sleeping between sitter visits rather than barking at or enduring all the other dogs barking in the kennel.

MYTH 3: Pet sitting is really only for dog owners.

So your cat doesn’t care to be entertained, and your gerbil doesn’t exactly need to be walked. Then why bother with a pet sitter? It’s not just about immediate need and companionship. Having someone come to your home to check up on your critters will help ensure that nothing goes wrong while you’re away. And if it does, there will be a mature adult to handle whatever situation occurs according to your instructions. You won’t have to wonder if the snake got out, or if Mr. Whiskers knocked over a vase that is now dangerously scattered in sharp pieces across the living room floor.

MYTH 4: People only use petsitters when they go out of town.

Guess again. People use petsitters for all kinds of situations. While the mid-day walks for working pet parents are the most advertised, pet sitters fill in for long days in the city or at the beach, extended absences for weddings or family reunions, and spur of the moment socializing after a long day at work. Not only do you not have to rush home, your pets are fed and spoiled according to their normal schedule, and will be relaxed and happy to see you when you return. No guilt for you and everyone gets a good night’s sleep!


(Info provided by Tara’s Pet Sitting)

Bailey’s Story


In keeping with our desire to bring a light to special rescue stories, we wanted to include Bailey!  Bailey worked hard to write this for you himself.  🙂

My name is Bailey. I was found walking on Murchie Street in Greensboro, NC on September 9th, 2010. I was then taken to the Guilford County Animal Shelter because I had some type of ”wound” on my back. I heard the doctor’s say that I had 2nd- 3rd degree burns on my back and left side. Even though my hair appeared to have been recently groomed, no one in the area claimed to know me. No one called the shelter to ask about me even after my picture was placed on the news.

Pictures of my back were then sent to the Veterinary school at NC State University. Doctor’s at the school believe that the damage caused to my skin was from a hot liquid being poured on me. For the next few weeks, I stayed at the shelter while technicians performed painful treatments on my back. They told me that my hair would never grow back.

On October 14th, I was adopted by my new mom, Keely, and taken to my new home. My mom volunteers with a group called Susie’s Law. They helped change the penalty for someone who is convicted of Felony Animal Cruelty in North Carolina. They fought to have the charge raised to a Class H Felony instead of a Class I Felony which does not require any jail time. In June of 2010, the NC Legislators voted unanimously for this change.

As of April 2011, no one has come forward with any information leading to my previous owner or who could have hurt me. My mom promised to do all that she could to make sure no one forgets my case. She takes me to events with Susie from Susie’s Law and talks about animal cruelty laws and ways that people can help animals in their areas. I also help represent Susie’s Miracle Fund which is based in the Guilford County Animal Shelter. Susie’s Miracle Fund relies on donations in order to pay for the treatment of sick and injured animals that are brought in to the shelter. Without this fund, I probably would not have been able to have my second chance at life.

Now that I am feeling better, I love to go on car rides and meet new people. My mom tells me that I’m beautiful every day and that my scars make me unique. My new family is wonderful! I like to chase my older, bigger brothers in the yard and then be cuddled every night until I go to sleep.

If you have any information on my case, please call Guilford County Crime Stoppers at 336-373-1000. If you would like more information on Susie’s Law, please search their name on Facebook. It’s a page where fans seek to raise awareness about animal abuse issues and current laws and promote forward movement of animal legislation in NC.

***Update 04-10-11

Bailey’s case has officially been closed as an, “Accident.” According to police, the family that “found” Bailey with his horrific wounds was actually the owners of Bailey. Their son “unknown age” is mentally handicapped and attempted to give Bailey a bath which resulted in him scalding Bailey to the point of second and third degree burns. The family attempted to treat Bailey’s burns themselves for two days. When it was realized that their home treatment was not working, they took Bailey to a Veterinarian and stated that he had been found.

Due to the child’s mental status and the fact that the family eventually took Bailey to a doctor, charges will not be brought against them.

Phoenix’s Journey – by Deborah Hodges

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Our second special story comes again from Guilford County.  Someone set the puppy on fire causing 2nd and 3rd degree burns to more than 40 percent of its body.  But the Guilford County Animal Shelter treated him, and thankfully, Deborah brought him into a loving home.   Phoenix is buddies with Susie too!  He is a happy boy these days!!   Thanks Deborah for writing about this sweet fella!

Phoenix’s Journey

Sometimes in life we feel like we live day to day doing the same things, I had thought about fostering for our shelter because I needed more in my life, I heard about a puppy that had been burned by 4 boys and instantly had the desire to do something for him, his name is Phoenix.  I agreed to foster him until he was ready for his furever home, so the journey began for many.

I had to take him to the Guilford CountyCounty Animal Shelter every day seven days a week for 7 weeks for his skin treatments, this poor baby had body wrap that had to be removed every day so his wounds could be cleaned. Fridays were much tougher, the old dead skin had to be removed. As Phoenix grew it would become harder to walk because so much of his skin had been burned so he had to have skin grafts, it was a long journey but once again he held his head high and life went on. I have learned so much from him, if he can forgive and love unconditionally then I can too. I watched him sleeping many nights with tears in my eyes, you could tell he was uncomfortable at times. He had to wear a plastic collar for a few months, sleeping in that was no fun. It may have bothered me more than it did him, he is the most lovable dog, how can that be?

I truly believe unconditional love and time can heal all wounds, Phoenix is living proof. As I share this horrific story with you my heart is heavy while he sits looking at me as if nothing ever happened, that’s my sweet loving little man.


Phoenix being treated.

Sweet Phoenix recently

Susie’s Story – by Donna Smith Lawrence

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We are starting to put together some special blog posts by contributors in our area.  Our goal is to bring about information on rescues, adoptions, animal welfare, and special information about animal care.

Our first contributor really needs no introduction….  most here in NC know of Susie.  But her “mom”, Donna, decided to contribute a short blog about Susie’s story for our readers.

For more information about Susie, Susie’s Law, or Susie’s Hope – you can check them out on Facebook at:!/susieshope

Man’s Best Friend

Why do some people call dog’s Man’s Best Friend?  Well for starters some dogs are indeed their owners best friend.  Dog’s have been our companion’s for hundred’s and hundred’s of years.  They are member’s of our families, protectors of our home’s and in some situations they are even our co-workers assisting us in our day to day jobs. Most important alot of dogs are used as therapy or seeing eye dogs. Making life for their owners easier and more fullfilled.

Here in North Carolina, we have our own very special dog. This dog survived being a victim of a vicious attack to becoming a hero……….. Her name is Susie!  Susie was found burned, beaten, and barely alive in a Greensboro park in 2009. Her chances of survival were very slim. She had 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 60% of her body, and her ears were burned to nubs.  She was rescued and nursed back to health at the Guilford County Animal Shelter. During her first exam they discovered more than 300 maggots on her back. This Discovery helped them determine how long she had been in the park. “Ten days,” she was lucky to be alive. “Susie” was a walking Miracle…  That December Susie was adopted by Donna Lawrence, who was a survivor herself. In October 2008 Donna was attacked and nearly killed by a pitbull.  Together Susie and Donna learned to trust and love again.

June 2010 after rallying North Carolina citizens to change the current animal cruelty laws,(from a class I felony cruelty to animals,  to a class H felony cruelty to animals),  a new law was passed and signed. This law was named after Susie……..Susie’s Law. This new Law would allow up to ten months jail time for first time offenders, were as before they only got probabtion.   Now that a new law was passed Donna wanted to do more to help our state. She and Susie started visiting schools, fundraiser’s, our special needs community, churches, pet adoption fairs and other events educating people everywhere about animal abuse and welfare. They call their new mission in life, Susie’s Hope.  Together they are an unstopable team, working together to make a diiference in this world, hoping to reach out nationally to educate and inspire to help end animal abuse & cruelty.  Donna,  I am sure would agree that a dog can be man’s best friend…………or in this case woman’s best friend!

Susie and Donna




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