Thursday, January 14, 2010

Corning City Council Meeting - Monday, Jan. 11th, 2010

Corning City Council Meeting attended by NAFA – Part 1a

Last night four NAFA volunteers attended the Corning City Council. Executive Director Wannda Turner had asked to be put on the agenda to speak about issues with the Corning Animal Control Department. Before she was able to speak the Council passed a new ordinance addressing how long animals picked up by the Corning Animal Control officer were to be kept, procedures for owners to redeem their pets, how long the pets were kept and specifically stated that animals unclaimed and unadoptable were to be “humanely euthanized”. Wannda Turner still addressed the council saying that she was there to “speak for the animals”. It was not our intention to be confrontational. While we are upset and do not condone what happened in the past, our objective is to help the City of Corning to keep this from happening again.

Corning City Council Meeting attended by NAFA – Part 1b

NAFA provide several handouts to the City Council – 1.) AVAM Euthanasia Guidelines; 2.) New Rabies Law; 3.) NAFA Proposal for bringing Corning ’s Animal Control into the 21st Century and 4.) NAFA’s original list of issues with the shooting of the dogs by the Chief of Police. The Mayor and City Council were pleasant and listened to NAFA’s recommendations. A few questions were asked and answered. In the following posts we will share the recommendations made by NAFA to the City of Corning . NAFA plans to continue assist the City of Corning to bring its Animal Control Department up to standards.

Corning City Council Meeting attended by NAFA – Part 1c

Important – If you live in a city or town in Northeast Arkansas and you are concerned about your animal control department then take time to get involved. Find out what is going on. Look at our recommendations and see if your city or town meets your expectations. If you would like our help, email or contact us and we will try to assist.

NAFA Animal Control Recommendations for Animal Control Departments – Part 2
An animal control shelter should be a safe haven for all animals in need, and should function as the nucleus of a community's animal care and control program. It should teach humane principles in the community and protect animals from cruelty and suffering. Its staff should provide quality care for all animals in its charge, making every effort to provide a safe, comfortable, and healthy environment. The shelter should also be accessible to the public and serve as a resource to the community.

General Policies – Part 3
The mayor and city council or your municipal animal care and control facility should fully acquaint themselves with the community's animal problems and should consistently allocate adequate funding and resources for a humane and effective animal care and control program. A comprehensive animal control ordinance should be in place and adequately enforced.
NAFA believes that the following should be minimum standards for any animal shelter. While a shelter is limited to its available resources, it should follow these policies closely if it is to be an asset to the animals and the community it serves:
Accept every animal, or partner with another local shelter or facility that does.
Maintain a clean, comfortable, safe, and healthy environment for each animal.
Hold all stray animals for a minimum of seven operating days.
Screen prospective adopters using established adoption standards.
Use sodium pentobarbital administered by well-trained, compassionate individuals when euthanasia is necessary or take the animals to a licensed veterinarian for euthanasia.
Require adopters to get current rabies vaccinations and get their animals sterilized soon after placement and follow up to ensure compliance.

Daily Operations – Part 4
Every shelter, no matter how small, should have written operational policies and standards. Written standard operating procedures (SOPs) will protect your organization from liability, and will provide stability and consistency to ensure that daily operations run smoothly. It is a binding obligation of your city officials to evaluate current procedures frequently. The public should know where animals are kept and signs directing the public to the location and operation hours should be clearly posted.

Hours of Operation – Part 5
Your shelter should be open to the public a minimum of five days per week for claiming or adopting animals, including at least one weekend day. It is imperative that staff be on site at the facility 7 days a week. On days when the shelter is closed, staff should still be assigned hours to clean and feed any animals housed at the facility. The hours of operation should be clearly posted outside the shelter and made known throughout the community.
Shelters that offer emergency services in their community should be able to receive and assist sick or injured animals twenty-four hours a day.

Animal Care and Housing – Part 6
Your shelter should provide the most comfortable, stress-free environment possible for the animals in your care. Animals should have access to clean, fresh water at all times (unless fasting for anesthesia or surgery) and be fed according recommendations of a consulting veterinarian. Food and water bowls should be properly disinfected every day.
Cages and kennels should be commercially manufactured, in good condition, cleaned and disinfected daily, and free of sharp or broken edges. Dogs and cats must be housed separately, and the housing should reflect their different needs.

Adoptions – Part 7
Your shelter should strive to place animals in loving, responsible, and permanent homes. Animals should be sterilized prior to adoption in order to prevent more unwanted litters and to reduce the hormonally-based instinct to roam. If this is not possible, adopters should sign a contract to have the animals spayed within a specific period of time. You should have a comprehensive and firm set of adoption selection criteria to assist your staff in making decisions about individual animals’ adoptability and screening adopters. Adoption programs should contain some follow-up component, so that you can keep track of the animals you’ve placed into the community and measure your effectiveness.

Euthanasia – Part 8
Shelters must demonstrate a respect for quality of life and provide the most humane death possible for animals who are suffering or otherwise not suitable for adoption. In order to be humane, a euthanasia method must result in painless, rapid unconsciousness followed by cardiac or respiratory arrest and, ultimately, death. The AVMA recommends an overdose injection of sodium pentobarbital, prepared specifically for the euthanasia of companion animals. This method, when properly performed, has been found to be the most humane, safest, least stressful, and most professional choice.
Only staff who have been properly trained in animal handling and euthanasia should perform it. Shelters also must follow federal and state guidelines regarding euthanasia methods and administration.
It is imperative that shelters who administer euthanasia consider it a critical duty and therefore provide adequate support to the staff who perform this difficult task. Euthanasia programs should be given the same attention and resources as any other shelter program.

Record Keeping – Part 9
Complete and accurate records are essential for the responsible, efficient, and legal operation of your animal shelter. A record should be prepared for every animal entering your shelter, giving a full description of the animal and any information about the animal's background that is available. These records should be numbered and filed so that all staff can easily retrieve them. An animal should have the same record or tag number throughout his or her stay at the shelter, and each animal must be clearly identified with a temporary collar and tag.
Accurate record keeping is also necessary for an effective lost-and-found program as well as for tracking animal control calls, cruelty complaints, and the care and disposition of the animals in the shelter's care.

Programs – Part 10
Shelter activities should be based on the best interests of the animals and the community. The role of staff members is to provide humane care of the animals and to carry out the shelter's programs effectively. Staff members should provide city officials with information or assistance that will promote the development of responsible animal care and control programs.

Cruelty Investigation – Part 11
Every community should have trained personnel to investigate animal cruelty issues and enforce animal protection laws. All calls and complaints must be handled in a professional, courteous, and timely manner. Personnel should be able to respond twenty-four hours a day in cases of emergency. If a shelter doesn't have an investigator, it should refer callers to the appropriate law enforcement agency in the area.

Humane Education – Part 12
Your shelter should make every effort to provide humane education for local residents, especially children. From sponsoring community-wide awareness campaigns to sending shelter staff into classrooms for presentations, your shelter can embrace a variety of strategies to teach responsible pet ownership and instill a humane ethic in all members of the community.

Volunteers – Part 13
Volunteers can be an invaluable asset to your shelter's programs and its animals. However, don't expect volunteers to fill most staffing needs. All volunteers must be properly trained and supervised in much the same manner as are staff.

Management – Part 14
It is a binding obligation of shelter administrators to evaluate current procedures frequently; ensure that animals are properly cared for; and verify that employees are competent, compassionate, and properly trained.

Personnel – Part 15
Shelter employees should be regarded as the skilled professionals that they are and should be paid on that basis. All job positions and descriptions should include salaries that will attract competent people with good judgment who care about treating animals humanely. Written policies and procedures for employees are essential, not only for the orientation and training of new employees, but also to ensure continuity and efficiency within the shelter.
A comprehensive policies and procedures manual, explaining shelter policies and general job duties, should be made available to every staff member. The following is a suggested outline:
History, mission, purposes, and general policies (including euthanasia policies and other policies related to animals)
Organizational structure, job descriptions for all positions, policies for benefits and leave
Who the individual reports to and where complaints can be made.
Procedures for office, kennel, and field services; security and safety procedures
Resources, including state and local animal laws and a list of other animal care and control agencies in the community.

Training – Part 16
Shelter staff must be trained so they can effectively perform the following functions:
Provide humane care for shelter animals.
Protect the animals from disease and injury.
Solve or refer all types of community animal problems to the proper person or agency.
Deal with the public courteously, professionally, and effectively.
Every animal care organization should engage in rigorous training for new staff and continuing education for veterans. Shelter employees should be encouraged to attend out-of-house training sessions and be given opportunities to do so. An effort should be made to address problems associated with employee stress, including adoption—and euthanasia—related anxiety.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Twenty Cats Taken From Hoarder in Jonesboro

Yesterday, in a joint effort between NAFA and Jonesboro Animal Control, 20 cats were removed from the home of an elderly woman. This was an amazing rescue and only goes to prove that when agencies work together the community, residents and animals all benefit. The five Animal Control officers, lead by the Animal Control Director, were extremely kind and considerate to the elderly woman, putting her mind at ease about the cats and their outcome. Family members and a home health care provider were very cooperative. Under city ordinance residents are only allowed 5 domesticated pets.

The 80+ year old woman recently fell and authorities became aware that she had more than 20 cats living inside her home and an additional 10 cats living outdoors. The 20+ inside cats ranged in age from 8 months to 3-4 years, males and females. NAFA will provide assistance to the family to get the 4 cats left in the home spayed/neutered and vaccinated. As the weather permits, NAFA will also start setting traps for the approximately 10 outside cats, so they can be removed and rehomed.

While the elderly woman was providing sufficient food for the cats, she was not able to properly clean up after them or otherwise care for them. None of the cats were vaccinated and only two had been altered (those two remained at the residence). Most of the cats were quite wild so gloves, nets and a lot of sweet talking was needed to capture them.

The cats were first surrendered over to Jonesboro Animal Control and then to NAFA. The cats received extensive health checks, vaccinations, parasite treatment, antibiotics, antifungals, deworming and other necessary treatments. They will all need significant care and socialization before they are adoptable.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


A beautiful, gentle and loving Weimaraner, Heidi Parsons was shot on Sunday, January 3rd on Mitzi Lane in Jonesboro . She was shot in the face, belly and foot. She died on the operating table yesterday. This is a tragic and unnecessary incident. An investigation is under way. In the past year more than twenty animals have been reported to NAFA as shot. While State Law does allow for protecting one’s person, property and pets from “aggressive” pets, many individuals are needlessly shooting pets that pose no real threat. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Parsons in this horrid loss.

Rest in Peace,

Monday, January 4, 2010


Wet, cold weather has plagued Jonesboro and surrounding areas for several weeks now and this greatly affects the pets and animals in our lives. From Dec. 24 thru Jan. 3rd NAFA has provided 7 dog houses, 28 pallets and 11 bales of stray/hay to individuals whose dogs (or cats) must live outdoors. NAFA has also removed or had surrendered to them 26 dogs/puppies and 17 cats/kittens directly as a result of weather conditions. Sadly, there have been several occasions where we were called too late and animals exposed to the elements were already dead. Friday, NAFA was contacted by the Sheriff’s department and arrive on scene to find a mother dog, nine puppies and one cat dead – all frozen. And meteorologists are calling for temperatures in the single digits later this week.

While NAFA strongly encourages pet owners to bring their pets in to their garages, utility rooms, spare bedrooms, etc., some dog owners are unable or unwilling to bring their pets indoor during drastically cold and wet weather. Here are some tips for helping your pets when they are outdoors (even if it is only for a short period of time).


1) Shelter is a must. Even if your dog is going to spent only 15 minutes outside, they must have adequate warm shelter.

2) Shelter must keep your dog dry and warm. It must have a sturdy room and a floor. It can not be full of water.

3) Dog house size is very important. If the house is too small, it will be uncomfortable and your dog won't want to stay in it. If the house is too large, your dog will not be able to retain body heat in order to stay warm. Also, dogs feel more secure in a snug-fitting abode. (See sizing tips below)

4) Elevate the dog house - Elevate the dog house bottom so that it does not get submerged in snow, water or ice. Use a sturdy foundation or pallet made of wood or plastic to elevate the platform. This will keep the dog warm and the circulation of air underneath will help.

5) Install a Sturdy Door - A thick door that protects the dog from the cold is essential. It must also provide the dog easy access to his shelter. Use a thick carpet to increase the thickness of the door, or install a new door that is sturdy and heavy enough to resist the wind. The dog house door should be three fourths (3/4) of the dog's shoulder to ground measurement. The door height does not need to be as tall as the dog or larger either. The dog will lower its head when entering the dog house.

6) Keep the Dog House in a Sunny Wind-free Location - Ensue that the dog house is located away from the direction of the wind. Keep the dog house in a spot where it will receive maximum sunlight throughout the day.

7) Provide a Thick Straw Bed - Avoid using materials such as old carpets, blankets or comforters to provide a soft bed for your dog. This is because the dog will track in snow every time he enters the dog house. Such materials will absorb the wetness and soon become ice cold. Far from providing a comfortable bed, an icy comforter can contribute to hypothermia.

8) Buy Heated Dishes or check food and water every couple of hours – Remember your dog needs fresh water for its body to regulate its body temperature - In the winter, water and food can freeze quickly, making it inedible for the dog. If the dog consumes frozen food, he may fall sick too. Buy heated dishes that will keep the food and water somewhat warm. Make sure the dog is well fed and gets as much exercise as is possible.

9) Heater or Heat Lamp – If you are going to invest in a small heater or heat lamp for the dog house, ensure that it is installed safely and that the dog is a safe distance away from the appliance. Follow all safety requirements.

10) Create a Partition - If the dog house is large and spacious, it will remain cold throughout the winter. Add a wooden or plastic partition in the dog house, so that each division is just large enough for the dog to stand and turn around. This will trap more heat in the structure and keep the dog warm.

11) Sizing Tips - Size of Sleeping Area Floor Space - With each inch of your dog's height (measured from top of shoulder to ground) allow 36 square inches of floor space. For example, a dog 12 inches tall needs 432 square inches of floor space, or a floor area of 16" by 27" = 432 square inches. Height of Sleeping Area - Add 1 or 2 inches to your dog's measurement when in a sitting position (from top of head to ground), in order to determine the ceiling height. For example, a dog 12 inches tall will have a sitting height of about 14 inches and the doghouse ceiling should be 15 or 16 inches high. Overall Doghouse Dimensions - For example, a Dalmatian (20" tall, sitting height 23") doghouse should measure: sleeping area - 20"x36"; hall area - 12"x20"; ceiling height - 25"; doorways - 10"square; roof - 36"x72".

If you are not able to provide a dog house for your dog, if you need assistance getting it off the ground, or if you need straw for warmth, please contact NAFA – 870-932-1955.
If you are unable to care for your pet contact NAFA and we will help you find another home for your pet. Also, if you suspect that an animal is neglected or abuse, contact NAFA and we will make a welfare visit.
To add an animal to your family is not a right ... it's a PRIVILEGE. To care for our animals is not a choice... it's a RESPONSIBILITY.