WVTM 13 Chronicle: Protecting Our Pets


>>CATS.>>MEOW!>>DOGS.>>EVEN MONKEYS. PETS CAN ENRICH YOUR LIFE.>>AND THEY JUST MAKE ME LAUGH
EVERY DAY.>>THEY’RE PART OF THE FAMILY.>>OTHERS SERVE A GREATER
PURPOSE.>>HE ALSO IS TRAINED FOR
SEIZURE ALERT.>>BUT THERE’S A DARK SIDE.>>HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?>>ABUSE.>>ANIMALS THAT WERE SHOT. WE HAVE SEEN ANIMALS THAT WERE
SET ON FIRE.>>NEGLECT.>>THEY’VE NEVER BEEN OUT OF THE
CAGE. AND THEY’RE SICK.>>PUPPY MILLS.>>NO AIR. NO NOTHING. JUST THE WINDOWS THERE, THEY
WERE STACKED IN CAGES THREE
HIGH.>>OVERPOPULATION.>>IN AS LITTLE AS NINE YEARS,
TWO CATS CAN BECOME OVER 11
MILLION.>>IT CAN BE UNBEARABLE FOR
THOSE TRYING TO HELP.>>THERE’S A LOT OF GUILT AND
COMPASSION FATIGUE. THEY FEEL LIKE THEY COULD HAVE
DONE TO SAVE MORE.>>WHAT COULD BE DONE?>>THERE’S NO STANDARDS IN
PLACE.>>TO MAKE CHANGE.>>WE NEED TO DO THE RIGHT THING
WHEN WE SEE AN ANIMAL BEING MSZ
TREATED.>>TO SAVE LIVES.>>I NEED TO BE SAVED AND HAVING
HIM HAS SAVED ME.>>WVTM 13 “CHRONICLE”
PROTECTING OUR PETS.>>THE VOLUNTEERS AND WORKERS AT
ANIMAL SHELTERS AND HUMANE
SOCIETIES ARE ON THE FRONT LINES
WORKING TO PROTECT OUR PETS
DEALING WITH ANIMAL ABUSE AND
NEGLECT, DOGFIGHTING RINGS, PUPPY MILLS AND HOARDING CASES. THEY SEE THE WORST OF IT. THE IMAGES OF FILTHY, INJURED,
SOMETIMES EVEN DEAD ANIMALS ARE
GUT WRENCHING AND HORRIFIC. THEY ARE SO DIFFICULT TO SEE, WE
OFTEN BLUR THE PICTURES BEFORE
WE TELL YOU ABOUT THESE CASES IN
OUR NEWSCAST. BUT TONIGHT, WE THINK IT’S
IMPORTANT TO PULL BACK THE VEIL
AND LET YOU SEE WHAT ANIMAL
CONTROL AND SHELTER WORKERS DEAL
WITH ON A DAILY BASIS AS THEY
STRIVE TO PROTECT OUR PETS. IT’S A JOB THAT CAN BE
OVERWHELMING. WHILE INVESTIGATING A HOARDING
CASE IN JASPER, WORKERS SEIZED
TURTLES, A BIRD, A CHINCHILLA
AND 32 DOGS. MOST HAVE SKIN ISSUES, MANGE SO
SEVERE THEY’RE HAIRLESS AND ALL
ARE UNDERWEIGHT. SOME JUST SKIN AND BONES. THIS BULLDOG HAS MORE SERIOUS
EYE PROBLEMS. ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS WITH THE
GREATER BIRMINGHAM HUMANE
SOCIETY INVESTIGATE HUNDREDS OF
CASES A MONTH. SHELTER DIRECTOR ALLISON BLACK
CORNELIUS OFTEN GOES ON THE
CALLS HERSELF.>>WE’VE SEEN ANIMALS THAT WERE
SHOT. WE HAVE SEEN ANIMALS THAT WERE
SET ON FIRE.>>LIKE THIS CASE IN BIRMINGHAM. BRUCE, A BULLDOG PUPPY WAS SHOT. THE BULLET SHATTERED HIS LEG AND
DAMAGED HIS JOINT. VETS HAD TO AMPUTATE. THIS DISTURBING VIDEO OF SOMEONE
SHOOTING AND BURNING CATS IN
TALLADEGA BROUGHT CHERYL MEYERS
TO TEARS. ONE OF THE CATS WAS HER PET.>>I JUST CAN’T CONCEIVE HOW
ANYONE CAN DO THAT TO A HELPLESS
OR NOT JUST SOMETHING HELPLESS. HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO
ANYTHING? ANY LIVING OR BREATHING THING?>>IN WALKER COUNTY, SOMEONE
SHOT THIS DOG WITH AN ARROW. AUTHORITIES DON’T KNOW HOW LONG
THIS DOG ROAMED THE STREETS WITH
THE ARROW PROTRUDING FROM ITS
SINUS CAVITY BEFORE SOMEONE WAS
ABLE TO CATCH HIM AND GET HIM
HELP.>>IT’S GUT WRENCHING. I MEAN, YOU KNOW, YOU GET ANGRY. WHY WOULD SOMEBODY DO THIS?>>AND THESE HORRIFIC IMAGES
SHOCKED FOLKS IN JEFFERSON
COUNTY. OVER THE COURSE OF A FEW MONTHS,
THE CARCASSES OF SEVEN DOGS
FOUND ON THE SIDE OF ROADS, ONLY
SKELETAL REMAINS LEFT IN THIS
CAGE.>>THAT’S NOT OK WITH ME.>>WE SEE SO MANY ABANDONED DOG
BODIES IN BAGS AND BIG PLASTIC
BINS THAT THAT’S HORRIBLE AND WE
ARE UPSET ABOUT IT AND IT
ENRAGES US BUT THAT HASN’T
BECOME THE WORST CASES THAT WE’VE SEEN.>>IN TRUSSVILLE, A POLICE
OFFICER BUSTED OUT WINDOW OF A
MERCEDES AFTER SOMEONE LEFT
THEIR DOG LOCKED INSIDE IN THE
JULY HEAT FOR AT LEAST SEVEN
HOURS.>>COME ON, BABY.>>THAT PUP DIDN’T MAKE IT.>>THE CASE OUTRAGED THE
COMMUNITY.>>WE SEE A LOT OF CASES OF
STARVATION WHICH WE JUST — I
CAN’T COMPREHEND IT. NONE OF US CAN COMPREHEND WHY
YOU WOULD HAVE A PET IN YOUR
BACKYARD AND JUST LET IT STARVE
TO DEATH.>>ALABAMA IS ALSO HOME TO DOG
FIGHTING. JEFFERSON COUNTY AUTHORITIES
INVESTIGATED THIS CASE AND
CONFISCATD 20 PITBULLS SOME
WITH INJURIES LEADING OFFICIALS
TO BELIEVE THEY WERE USED AS
BAIT DOGS.>>ANIMALS HAVE FEELINGS LIKE WE
DO. AND THEY CAN’T SPEAK FOR
THEMSELVES SO SOMEONE HAS TO
STAND UP FOR THEM.>>THE CONDITION OF THE DOGS, WE
KNOW. RIGHT? YOU’VE GOT SCARS ALL OVER YOUR
FACE, YOU’RE TERRIFIED. YOU HATE OTHER DOGS. SO WE KNOW IT’S THERE.>>THE PEOPLE WHO VOLUNTEER AT
SHELTERS SEE THOSE ATROCITIES
FIRST HAND. THEIR REACTION IS INTENSIFIED
BECAUSE THEY OBVIOUSLY HAVE A
LOVE FOR ANIMALS. BUT THAT PASSION CAN BE
DETRIMENTAL FOR MANY. THE BURNOUT RATE IS HIGH. COMPASSION FATIGUE IS A REAL
THING. AS A MATTER OF FACT, VET AND VET
TECHES HAVE A SUICIDE RATE UP TO
3 1/2 TIMES GREATER THAN THE
GENERAL POPULATION.>>WE’VE HAD A LOT OF REALLY
GOOD EMPLOYEES WHO WERE AMAZING
FOR THE ORGANIZATION. THEY HAD A LOVE FOR ANIMALS AND
A PASSION FOR IT. BUT THEY LEFT BECAUSE THEY
COULDN’T HANDLE THE MORE DARKER
SIDE OF THINGS.>>CHRISTY POWELL WAS ONE OF
THOSE REALLY GOOD EMPLOYEES. SHE CLEARLY LOVES ANIMALS. SHE HAS THREE DOGS, EIGHT CATS,
THREE DUCKS, 30 CHICKENS AND SIX
FERRETS. AND SHE HAS A HEART FOR SPECIAL
NEEDS ANIMALS, TOO. ONE OF HER DOGS IS DEAF AND SHE
HAS TWO PARALYZED CATS.>>SHE WAS ON DEATH’S DOOR WHEN
SHE WAS A BABY KITTEN. SHE HAD LOST SO MUCH WEIGHT AND
DIDN’T WANT TO EAT. AND SHE ALMOST GOT EUTHANIZED.>>SHE WORKED AS A VET TECH AT
SHELBY HUMANE. THAT’S WHERE SHE MET BOOMER, A
PITBULL SHE FELL IN LOVE WITH! WHO HAD BEEN THERE FOR ABOUT A
YEAR.>>HE JUST KEPT GETTING PASSED
OVER, POST HIM ON MY PERSONAL
PAGE ON Facebook TRYING TO GET
HIM A HOME. HE WAS REALLY, REALLY SUPER
SWEET. AND HE JUST STARTED TO WITHDRAW
A LITTLE BIT. SORRY.>>THAT’S OK. I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND.>>I STILL GET EMOTIONAL ABOUT
THAT.>>EVENTUALLY, HE BECAME
AGGRESSIVE AND HAD TO BE PUT
DOWN.>>IT WAS A ROUGH DAY AND I DID,
I CAME HOME AND I WAS VERY
UPSET. I JUST SAT AND THOUGHT AND
THOUGHT AND THOUGHT, AND I WAS
LIKE WHAT AM I DOING? YOU KNOW? AND IT WAS REALLY HARD TO GO
BACK AND I JUST MADE THE
DECISION THAT IT WAS TOO HARD
FOR ME EMOTIONALLY TO BE THERE.>>ALL YOU’RE DOING IS COMING IN
EVERY DAY AND HAVING TO FACE
PUTTING DOWN THE THING THAT YOU
WANT TO SAVE. IT’S JUST OVERWHELMING.>>CHRISTY QUIT HER JOB. BUT STILL WANTED TO HELP. SO NOW SHE FOSTERS UP TO 200
ANIMALS A YEAR.>>NOT ALL ANIMALS WE LOVE ARE
OUR PETS. SOME PERFORM A FAR GREATER
FUNCTION FOR THEIR HUMANS. SERVICE ANIMALS CAN OPEN DOORS,
DETECT LOW BLOOD SUGAR AND
SEIZURES. THEY CAN COMFORT CHILDREN WITH
SPECIAL NEEDS AND PROVIDE
THERAPY, SNIFF OUT DRUGS,
EXPLOSIVES, ACCELERANTS AND EVEN
CANCER. THESE DOGS CAN BE LIFE SAVERS. SCOTT LANDRETH DOESN’T GO
ANYWHERE WITHOUT HIS PARTNER
RAMBO.>>I HAVE TROUBLE KEEPING MY
BALANCE. IF I GRAB HIS HARNESS, HE WILL
STIFFEN UP SO I CAN GET MY
BALANCE.>>RAMBO IS HIS SERVICE DOG AND
HE HELPS WITH MOBILITY AND
ALERTS PEOPLE IF SCOTT FALLS.>>RAMBO!>>AND EVEN HELPS WITH HIS POST
TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER.>>IF I HAVE A NIGHTMARE OR
FLASHBACK IN THE MIDDLE OF THE
NIGHT, HE GETS ON THE BED AND
WAKES ME UP.>>HE GOT A TRAUMATIC BRAIN
INJURY WHEN HE WAS A SOLDIER IN
VIETNAM THAT CAUSES SEIZURES. BEFORE HE GOT A SERVICE DOG, HE
WAS DEPENDENT ON HIS WIFE IF HE
WANTED TO LEAVE THE HOUSE. RAMBO CHANGED THAT.>>FOR ME, HE’S THAT PARTNER I
HAD IN THE MILITARY. I HAVE A PARTNER NOW. HE’S GOT MY BACK. HE’S GOT EVERYTHING. HE TAKES CARE OF ME.>>WE DO A FEW LABRADOODLES AND
GOLDEN DOODLES.>>ASHLEY HELPED TRAIN RAMBO.>>PERSONALITY IS KEY. WE NEED A DOG THAT WANTS TO
WORK, COOPERATION IS KEY. THEY HAVE EAGERNESS TO PLEASE. AND THE RIGHT WORK DRIVE.>>SHE’S WORKING WITH FINLEY AND
TAKING HIM INTO PUBLIC PLACES
LIKE TARGET TO HELP HIM PRACTICE
HIS FOCUS. DOGS AREN’T THE ONLY ANIMALS
THAT CAN SERVE THEIR HUMAN
COMPANIONS. AT THE RED BARN IN LEEDS, ABOUT
100 KIDS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS GET
TO RIDE HORSES EVERY WEEK. TORY BARNES IS ONE OF THEM.>>I GET TO WALK THEM SOMETIMES. I GET TO WATCH. BUT I MIGHT DO THAT.>>IT’S A LOT OF FUN BUT SO MUCH
MORE THAN THAT.>>SO YOU THINK OF THE PHYSICAL
ASPECT OF RIDING AND STRENGTH,
BALANCE, FLIGHT CONTROL, FINE
MOTOR SKILLS. EMOTIONALLY, BEING ABLE TO BE
WITH A WONDERFUL BUDDY HERE LIKE
MR. TUSKER DEVELOPING FRIENDS
WITH THEIR PEERS AND THEN
COGNITIVELY YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER
A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS AS YOU’RE RIDING.>>TORY HAS BEEN TAKING THE
THERAPEUTIC RIDING LESSONS FOR A
FEW YEARS NOW AND HAS LEARNED A
LOT.>>YOU TURN YOUR BELLY BUTTON
WHEN YOU TURN THE REINS LIKE
THIS. OH. YEAH, BUT HE ALMOST DID IT.>>SHE IS JUST BECOMING SUCH AN
EXPERT IN HORSEMANSHIP AND IF
YOU THINK OF A CHILD WITH A
DISABILITY THAT MAYBE THEY DON’T
HAVE A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES IN
THEIR LIFE OTHERWISE WHERE THEY GET TO BECOME THE EXPERT.>>RAMBO, SIT.>>THEY’RE BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS
THAT PROVIDE A VALUABLE SERVICE. BUT DON’T CALL RAMBO A PET.>>HE’S NOT A PET. HE’S A PIECE OF EQUIPMENT.>>DON’T FOR A SECOND THINK
SCOTT DOESN’T CARE ABOUT THIS
FLESH AND BLOOD LIFE SAVING
PIECE OF EQUIPMENT.>>WE HAVE A BOND. WE HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING. THAT HE TAKES CARE OF ME AND I
TAKE CARE OF HIM. ISN’T THAT RIGHT, BOY?>>THAT LOVE WE FEEL FOR OUR
PETS IS ACTUALLY GOOD FOR US. NOW, THIS IS ONE OF MY GERBILS
NINJA AND HAVING HIM AROUND WILL
HELP ME LIVE LONGER. NO MATTER WHAT KIND OF CRITTER
YOU PREFER, HAVING A PET IS AS
BENEFICIAL TO YOUR HEALTH AS
EATING RIGHT AND EXERCISING. STUDIES SHOW THE BOND BETWEEN
PEOPLE AND THEIR PETS CAN MAKE
YOU HEALTHIER.>>CATS HAVE A VERY SOOTHING
ATTITUDE A MAJORITY OF THE TIME. LIKE THIS ONE HERE, SHE’S VERY
SOOTHING RIGHT NOW. SHE’S PURRING. GOT A PURR GOING.>>IT CAN INCREASE FITNESS,
LOWER STRESS AND JUST MAKE YOU
HAPPIER.>>THEY’VE BEEN THERE LONGER
THAN, YOU KNOW, MOST OF MY
FRIENDS. SO THEY’VE KIEN OF SEEN ME
THROUGH MOVES AND, YOU KNOW,
THEY’RE JUST WONDERFUL
COMPANIONS AND THEY JUST MAKE ME
LAUGH EVERY DAY.>>ACCORDING TO THE C.D.C.,
HAVING A PET CAN DECREASE YOUR
BLOOD PRESSURE, CHOLESTEROL AND
TRIGLYCERIDE LEVELS AS WELL AS
YOUR FEELINGS O LONELINESS.>>SHE MAKES YOU LAUGH AND MAKES
YOU SMILE EVEN ON YOUR WORST
DAYS.>>WHENEVER IT’S STRESSFUL AND I
HAVE A LOT OF MEETINGS AND
SOMETHING, I CAN WATCH THEM AND
GUARANTEE YOU THEY’RE GOING TO
BRIGHTEN MY DAY.>>PET OWNERSHIP CAN ALSO
INCREASE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES FOR
EXERCISE, OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES AND
SOCIALIZATION.>>PART OF THE FAMILY. ME AND MY WIFE, WE LOVE HIM. AND WE GOT TWO.>>SHE JUST TURNED 6. AND IT’S KIND OF HIT ME KIND OF
HARD. YOU NEVER KNOW HOW MUCH TIME
YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE WITH THEM. SO TRY TO SPEND EVERY DAY WITH
THEM AND MAKE THEM HAPPY AND
SPEND TIME OUTDOORS. SHE’S DEFINITELY FAMILY.>>THE C.D.C. RECOGNIZES THAT
THE HEALTH OF PEOPLE IS CLOSELY
CONNECTED TO THE HEALTH OF
ANIMALS SO THE RESPONSIBILITY OF
KEEPING YOUR PET HEALTHY AND
HAPPY ISN’T JUST GOOD FOR THE ANIMAL. IT’S GOOD FOR YOU, TOO. STILL AHEAD, WHEN A POSITIVE
PROGRAM IS ABUSED.>>PEOPLE THEN BEGIN TO DOUBT
THE FOLKS WHO HAVE A LEGITIMATE
SERVICE DOG.>>AND THE PUPPY MILL PROBLEM.>>YOU WALK IN AND EVERY SINGLE
ANIMAL IS LOOKING AT YOU LIKE
JUST PLEASE GET ME OUT OF HERE!>>THE WARNING SIGNS AND WHAT
ADVOCATES ARE DOING TO STOP THE
PROBLEM. PLUS LOSING A PET.>>IT’S AN HONOR FOR ME TO BE
ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE’S
BABIES. IT’S MY PASSION.>>HOW MANY PET PARENTS DEAL
WITH THE LOSS.>>BREEDING CATS AND DOGS IS BIG
BUSINESS IN ALABAMA AND ANIMAL
ADVOCATES SAY IF WE REALLY WANT
TO PROTECT OUR PETS, WE HAVE TO
CRACK DOWN ON PUPPY MILLS. THAT’S ANY BREEDER WHO PUTS
PROFITS AHEAD OF THE HEALTH AND
WELL BEING OF THEIR ANIMALS. AND RIGHT NOW, THERE IS VERY
LITTLE OVERSIGHT AND PRETTY MUCH
NO REGULATION OF BREEDERS. WE’VE COVERED MANY PUPPY MILL
BUSTS LIKE THIS ONE IN
TRUSSVILLE. OFFICIALS SEIZED MORE THAN 80
SMALL DOGS. MANY WERE PREGNANT WHICH BROUGHT
THE TOTAL TO ABOUT 120 IN NO
TIME. THEY WERE LIVING IN A FILTHY
SHED IN CAGES STACKED FLOOR TO
CEILING.>>WE HAVE BOSTON TERRIERS,
DACHUNDS, POMERANIANS, POODLES,
PEKINGESE. THEY SMELL HORRIBLE. THEY’RE FILTHY. COMPLETELY MATTED AND JUST IN
HORRIBLE PHYSICAL CONDITION.>>AND IN WALKER COUNTY, ALMOST
30 DOGS SEIZED FROM AN ALLEGED
PUPPY MILL IN NAUVOO.>>HAS ABRASIONS ON BOTH EARS.>>YOU WALK IN AND EVERY SINGLE
ANIMAL IS LOOKING AT YOU LIKE
JUST PLEASE GET ME OUT OF HERE! AND IT’S JUST REALLY HARD TO GET
THOSE IMAGES OUT OF YOUR HEAD.>>IT’S DIFFICULT TO REALLY
UNDERSTAND THE SIZE OF THE
PROBLEM SINCE ALABAMA DOESN’T
REQUIRE LICENSING. ANGIE INGRAM SAYS ALABAMA IS
LIKE THE WILD WEST WITH
VIRTUALLY NO REGULATION. SHE STUMBLED ACROSS THE ISSUE
WHEN SHE WAS LOOKING TO BUY A
CAVALIER KING CHARLES SPANIEL.>>THIS WOMAN HAD 160 CAVALIERS
AND 120 WERE LIVING IN A SINGLE
WIDE TRAILER ON HER PROPERTY. NO AIR. NO NOTHING. JUST THE WINDOWS THERE. THEY WERE STACKED IN CAGES THREE
HIGH.>>SHE’S AN ATTORNEY AND AN
ANIMAL LOVER SO WHEN SHE SAW THE
PROBLEM FIRST HAND, SHE WAS
COMPELLED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT
IT. SHE STARTED THE ALABAMA PUPPY
MILL PROJECT.>>HONESTLY, I DIDN’T KNOW THE
FIRST THING ABOUT PUPPY MILLS, I
DIDN’T KNOW THEY EXISTED. I WAS PRETTY NAIVE ABOUT A LOT
OF THAT.>>SHE SAYS IT BECAME CLEAR
ALABAMA NEEDED PUPPY MILL
LEGISLATION. SOME WAY TO REGULATE DOG AND CAT
BREEDERS.>>THEY’RE CONDUCTING BUSINESS. THEY’RE SELLING DOGS. THEY’RE SELLING PUPPIES. WHY SHOULDN’T THEY HAVE TO HAVE
A LICENSE? I MEAN, THEY SHOULDN’T BE EXEMPT
FROM THAT. RESTAURANTS HAVE TO BE LICENSED
AND THEY GET INSPECTED. THEY’RE SUBJECT TO ANSWERING TO
SOMEONE. BUT THE BREEDERS IN ALABAMA ARE
NOT. THEY JUST DO WHATEVER THEY WANT.>>PUPPY MILL BREEDERS TYPICALLY
DON’T TAKE THEIR BREEDING ADULTS
TO THE VET BUT WILL HAVE THEIR
PUPPIES VETTED BECAUSE BUYERS
EXPECT TO SEE PROOF THAT THE
PUPPY IS HEALTHY. THAT’S ONE WAY VETERINARIANS
MIGHT HELP IN THIS PROBLEM.>>IT WOULD BE AWESOME IF
VETERINARIANS WOULD SAY LOOK,
I’VE GIVEN YOU HEALTH EXAM
REPORTS ON 100 PUPPIES NOW AND
YOU HAVEN’T BOUGHT A SINGLE
ADULT IN HERE TO ME. AND I’M NOT GOING TO DO IT
ANYMORE. IF YOU WANT ME TO BE THE
VETERINARIAN FOR YOUR ANIMALS,
I’LL DO IT. I WANT TO SEE THE PARENTS AT
LEAST ONCE A YEAR.>>UNTIL SOMETHING CHANGES, PET
PROTECTORS SAY PUPPY MILLS CAN
OPERATE IN ALABAMA RELATIVELY
UNCHECKED LEAVING THEIR
PRODUCTS, THE DOGS, AND IN SOME
CASES CATS AS THE REAL VICTIMS.>>THOSE IMAGES JUST, YOU KNOW,
THEY JUST STAY WITH YOU, AND
IT’S HARD FOR US TO TRY TO
UNDERSTAND HOW TO FIX THIS OR
HOW TO PREVENT IT.>>AS PUPPY MILLS TURN OUT MORE
AND MORE PUPPIES, MORE AND MORE
ANIMALS END UP IN SHELTERS SO
WHAT HAPPENS TO ALL THOSE
ANIMALS IN SHELTERS? IN 2017, IT’S ESTIMATED ABOUT
HALF OF THEM WERE EUTHANIZED. ALMOST 100,000 ANIMALS. AND SOME, LIKE THESE GUYS, WERE
YOUNG AND HEALTHY AND WERE PUT
DOWN SIMPLY BECAUSE THERE WASN’T
ENOUGH ROOM. IT’S SIMPLE MATH. TOO MANY ANIMALS, NOT ENOUGH
SPACE. FOR MANY COUNTIES AND
MUNICIPALITIES WORKING ON SLIM
BUDGETS, THE HUMANE ALTERNATIVE
IS EUTHANASIA. NO ONE FEELS THAT MORE DEEPLY
THAN THOSE WHO CARE FOR THOSE
ANIMALS AND HAVE TO MAKE THE
CALL.>>THERE’S A LOT OF GUILT.>>IN SHELBY COUNTY OVER THE
LAST YEAR, THEY EUTHANIZED 478
DOGS AND CATS. THAT’S ABOUT 22% OF THE MORE
THAN 2100 ANIMALS THEY TOOK IN.>>LAST FISCAL YEAR, IT WAS AT
74%. I KNOW IN YEARS PRIOR TO THAT, I
THINK IT HAD — WAS MAYBE CLOSER
TO 50% TO 60%.>>AND STILL, THEY GET CASES
THAT STRETCH THEM THIN.>>WE OFTEN HAVE PEOPLE WHO ARE
REPEAT OFFENDERS. MOM AND DOG HAS PUPPIES. BRING US THE PUPPIES SIX MONTHS
LATER, BRING US THE PUPPIES. BRING US THE PUPPIES. AND, YOU KNOW, LIKE I SAID, IT’S
NOT UNTIL WE BEG THEM. WE’LL DO IT FOR FREE! LET US FIX HER! OK.>>THEY CREDIT THEIR LOW COST
AND NO COST SPAY AND NEUTER
PROGRAM WITH THE STRIDES THEY’VE
MADE SO FAR.>>WE HAVE EMBRACED BEING A
TRANSPARENT ORGANIZATION. WE DON’T WANT TO HIDE ANYTHING. AND WE FEEL LIKE IF PEOPLE SAW
THE REALITY, THEY WOULD
UNDERSTAND MORE ABOUT WHAT WE
FACE.>>THE REALITY IS MORE GRIM IN
COLEMAN COUNTY. IN 2018, THEY PUT DOWN 1400 OF
THE 2100 DOGS AND CATS THEY TOOK
IN. THAT’S 2/3 THAT DIE. IN TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, 31% OF THE
MORE THAN 4,000 DOGS AND CATS
THAT END UP AT THE ANIMAL
SHELTER WERE PUT DOWN. CALHOUN ANIMAL CONTROL HAS
EUTHANIZED 45% OF THE ANIMALS
THEY CARED FOR SINCE TAKING BACK
CONTROL OF THE PROGRAM FROM A
PRIVATE GROUP. IN ST. CLAIRE COUNTY, 57% OF THE
ANIMALS AT THE ANIMAL CONTROL IN
THE LAST YEAR WERE EUTHANIZED. GREATER BIRMINGHAM HUMANE
SOCIETY THAT SERVES MUCH OF
JEFFERSON COUNTY AND THE CITY OF
JASPER EUTHANIZED ALMOST 6,000
ANIMALS LAST YEAR. ABOUT 38% OF THE ANIMALS THEY
SERVED. MANY OF THE CONDEMNED ANIMALS
ARE AGGRESSIVE, SICK, OLD OR
CONSIDERED UNADOPTABLE. BUT ANIMAL ADVOCATES SAY FAR TOO
MANY WERE YOUNG AND HEALTHY AND
WERE PUT DOWN BECAUSE THERE JUST
WASN’T ANY ROOM AT THE SHELTER. SO WHAT HAPPENS TO THE TENS OF
THOUSANDS OF PETS THAT HAVE TO
BE PUT DOWN?>>THEY ARE BAGGED AND THEY ARE
PICKED UP BY A SERVICE THAT
BIRMINGHAM PROVIDES TO US AND
THEY ARE TAKEN TO A LANDFILL. THAT’S THE HARDEST THING OF ALL.>>NEXT, FERRELL CAT COLONIES.>>YOU CAN’T TAME THESE CATS. THEY’RE WILD.>>HOW TRAP, NEUTER, RELEASE
PROGRAMS WORK. MANY ARE ILLEGAL. WHY SOME ANIMAL ADVOCATES SAY
THEY DO IT ANYWAY. LATER, CATS AND DOGS AREN’T FOR
EVERYONE.>>THIS IS A BIG TIME COMMIT
MANY.>>WE’LL CHECK OUT SOME OTHER
TYPES OF PETS.>>ONE UNALTERED CAT CAN TURN
INTO 40 IN 16 MONTHS. YOU CAN SEE HOW QUICKLY A FEW
WILDCATS CAN TURN INTO AN OUT OF
CONTROL COLONY. MANY AREAS HAVE WITNESSED IT
FIRST HAND. IN 2016, THE PROBLEM WAS SO BAD
THE CITY COUNCIL APPROVED A
T.N.R., TRAP, NEUTER RETURN TO
COLONY. THIS IS ELMER. HE’S A FERAL CAT AND TOTALLY
WILD. HE LIVES WITH SEVERAL MATES AND
LOTS OF KITTENS IN A HISTORIC
HOME IN BIRMINGHAM’S SOUTH SIDE. THIS IS AS CLOSE TO HIM AS YOU
CAN GET. AS A LEADER OF THE CAT COLONY,
HE’S HAD A ROUGH LIFE. YOU CAN TELL THAT BY THE BATTLE
SCARS ON HIS FACE AND EARS. BUT KATHRYN MILLER IS HOPING TO
HELP.>>I LOVE ANIMALS PERIOD.>>SHE SPENDS ALMOST ALL OF HER
FREE TIME TRYING TO TRAP FERAL
CATS.>>THEY CAN HAVE KITTENS THREE
TIMES A YEAR. AND A KITTEN AS EARLY AS 4
MONTHS OLD CAN GET PREGNANT AND
START REPRODUCING.>>IN NO TIME, A FEW CATS CAN
TURN INTO DOZENS.>>IN AS LITTLE AS NINE YEARS,
TWO CATS CAN BECOME OVER 11
MILLION.>>ON THIS DAY, SHE GETS A FEW
BUT NOT ELME
KATHRYN STARTED SOUTHSIDE T.N.R. FOUR YEARS AGO. T.N.R. STANDS FOR TRAP, NEUTER,
RETURN SO THE NEXT STOP FOR
THESE CATS IS THE ALABAMA SPAY,
NEUTER CLINIC. THERE, VETS ALTER THE CATS AND
VACCINATE THEM FOR RABIES AND
OTHER DISEASES.>>YOU CAN’T TAME THESE CATS. THEY’RE WILD. THEY DON’T MAKE GOOD PETS
BECAUSE THEY’RE WILD AND SO THE
BEST THING WE CAN DO FOR THEM IS
TO GIVE THEM A BETTER LIFE. GIVE THEM A VACCINATION. HELPS PUBLIC HEALTH. AND THAT WE CAN KEEP THEM FROM
BREEDING.>>DR. FERRELL LIKE MOST VETS
TIPS THE CAT’S LEFT EAR AND THIS
EASILY IDENTIFIES THEM TO ANYONE
THAT MIGHT TRAP THEM IN THE
FUTURE. T.N.R. IS A CONTROVERSIAL IDEA
AND HAS MANY CRITICS. WHILE SOME COMMUNITIES LIKE THIS
HAVE ADOPTED THE PRACTICE, IT IS
ILLEGAL IN MANY CITIES LIKE
BIRMINGHAM WHERE SOUTHSIDE
T.N.R. OPERATES.>>I THINK WE SHOULD BE
COMPLYING WITH OUR CITY
ORDINANCES. MY OPINION IS YOU SHOULD CATCH
THEM AND FIND THEM A HOME. NOT THROW THEM BACK OUT INTO
NATURE AND HOPE FOR THE BEST. THAT DOESN’T SEEM RIGHT EITHER.>>EVEN WITH THE CONTROVERSY,
THE GREATER BIRMINGHAM HUMANE
SOCIETY STRONGLY SUPPORTS THE
PROGRAMS.>>HUMANE SOCIETIES AND AGENCIES
THAT DO WHAT WE’RE DOING RIGHT
NOW, I THINK SHOW A LOT OF
COURAGE. WE ARE HELPING ANY CITIZEN THAT
COMES INTO GBHS WITH A CAT THAT
THEY’VE BEEN TAKING CARE OF IN A
COLONY AND THEY WANT US TO ALTER
IT AND HELP THEM RETURN IT TO
THAT COLONY, WE’RE GOING TO DO IT AND FOR FREE, PERIOD.>>SHE SAYS THE ONLY OTHER
SOLUTION IS TO EUTHANIZE FERAL
CATS BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT
ADOPTABLE AND ELIMINATING THE
ENTIRE COLONY DOES NOT STOP THE
PROBLEM.>>WITHIN FOUR OR FIVE MONTHS,
THAT EXACT SAME GEOGRAPHICAL
AREA HAS BEEN REPLENISHED WITH A
NEW GROUP OF CATS. SO I KNOW THE WAY WE WERE DOING
IT WAS NOT WORKING. SO NOW WE’VE GOT HEALTHY CATS
THAT HAVE BEEN ALTERED. THEY’RE NOT GOING TO SPRAY. THEY’RE GOING TO BE A LOT LESS
AGGRESSIVE AND THE PROBLEM WILL
TAKE CARE OF ITSELF.>>24 HOURS AFTER SURGERY,
KATHRYN RETURNS THE CATS TO
THEIR COLONY. WHEN SHE CATCHES KITTENS,
THOUGH, IT’S A DIFFERENT STORY. THEY USUALLY CAN BE TAMED SO
THEY ARE ADOPTED OUT. ONE OF OUR OWN WVTM 13 EMPLOYEES
GOT ONE OF THOSE WILD KITTENS,
GEORGE SEEMS VERY HAPPY TO HAVE
A WARM HOME AND A DOTING HUMAN. THE T.N.R. PROGRAM HAS HAD A
HUGE IMPACT ON THE NUMBER OF
CATS THAT END UP HERE AT THE
GREATER BIRMINGHAM HUMANE
SOCIETY. AS A MATTER OF FACT, IT’S NOT
JUST IMPORTANT FOR STRAYS,
SPAYING AND NEUTERING IS
IMPORTANT FOR YOUR PETS AS WELL. AND THAT’S SOMETHING FOLKS IN
OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY HAVE
ALREADY FIGURED OUT. WHEN IT COMES TO THIS TOPIC, WE
COULD LEARN SOMETHING FROM OUR
NEIGHBORS TO THE NORTH.>>IT’S A DIFFERENT ATTITUDE. YOU DON’T SEE DOGS AND CATS
WANDERING ON THE SIDES OF THE
ROADS UP NORTH LIKE YOU DO IN
THE SOUTH.>>THERE ARE CULTURAL ASPECTS OF
IT. THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT THINK
HAVING AN UNALTERED MALE DOG IS
A THING THAT MAKES THEM LOOK
TOUGH.>>MAYBE IT’S HOW WE IN THE
SOUTH THINK ABOUT ANIMALS SINCE
WE’RE MORE OF AN AGRICULTURAL
SOCIETY.>>ANIMALS ARE PROPERTY. AS PROPERTY, WE CAN DO WHATEVER
WE WANT WITH OUR PROPERTY,
RIGHT?>>SO WE ARE DEALING WITH SOME
EDUCATIONAL BARRIERS AND SOME
CULTURAL BARRIERS.>>BUT VETS AT ALABAMA SPAY AND
NEUTER CLINIC ARE WORKING TO
BREAK THROUGH THOSE BARRIERS.>>OUR MISSION IS TO REDUCE PET
OVERPOPULATION.>>DR. FERRELL HAS BEEN
PERFORMING THESE SURGERIES HERE
FOR ALMOST 10 YEARS AND IN THAT
TIME, SHE’S ALTERED ABOUT 60,000
DOGS AND CATS. THAT KIND OF REPETITION MAKES
YOU EFFICIENT. VERY EFFICIENT.>>A LARGE FEMALE DOG IS
PROBABLY GOING TO TAKE US ABOUT
10 MINUTES. CAT NEUTER IS OUR FASTEST
SURGERY AND THAT SURGERY IS
ABOUT 40 SECONDS.>>40 SECONDS?>>IT’S VERY QUICK.>>IF YOU BLINK, YOU’LL MISS IT.>>THEY ALTER UP TO 70 CATS AND
DOGS EVERY SINGLE DAY. AND THEY ARE BOOKED MORE THAN A
MONTH OUT.>>THERE WERE 70 ANIMALS IN HERE
EVERY DAY WAITING FOR SURGERY. AND THEN WE WOULD FIX ALL OF
THEM AND THE NEXT DAY, THERE
WERE 70 MORE WAITING TO BE
FIXED. AND THAT HAS NEVER GONE AWAY
WHICH IS MIND BOGGLING.>>AND A VERY PURPOSELY KEEP
PRICES AT THIS NONPROFIT CLINIC
AS LOW AS POSSIBLE. FROM $55 FOR A MALE CAT TO $100
FOR A FEMALE DOG.>>I THINK FOR A LOT OF CLIENTS,
PRICE IS A CONCERN. EVEN, YOU KNOW, WELL-TO-DO
HOUSEHOLDS OFTEN LIVE PAYCHECK
TO PAYCHECK. BUDGETS ARE ALWAYS A CONCERN FOR
MOST FAMILIES. THE THING ABOUT DOING HIGH
EFFICIENCY OR HIGH VOLUME, IT
BECOMES MORE EFFICIENT AND SO
THAT’S WHAT DRIVES THE COST
DOWN.>>THEY’LL EVEN PICK UP YOUR PET
AND BRING IT BACK TO YOU IN
CERTAIN AREAS. MANY HUMANE SOCIETIES ALSO OFFER
FREE OR LOW COST SURGERIES AND
THE ALABAMA ADOPTION SOCIETY
SELLS DISCOUNT CERTIFICATES FOR
SPAYING AND NEUTERING THAT MANY
VETS WILL HONOR.>>IF YOU WANT TO ALTER YOUR
PET, WE’LL ALTER YOUR PET FOR
YOU AND WON’T CHARGE YOU FOR IT. BOTTOM LINE. IF WE CAN GET A PET ALTERED, WE
WILL DO IT.>>MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR PETS IS
MORE ADVANCED THAN EVER BEFORE.>>BETTER DIAGNOSTICS LEADS TO
BETTER OPPORTUNITIES FOR
TREATMENT.>>AND HOW A LITTLE HELP CAN
MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE FOR PETS
AND THEIR OWNERS.>>IT’S DIVERTED OVER 1300
ANIMALS FROM THIS SHELTER IN THE
PAST SEVERAL MONTHS.>>EARLIER, WE TALKED ABOUT
SERVICE ANIMALS AND HOW THEY
CHANGE THE LIVES OF THEIR
OWNERS. THERE ARE ABOUT HALF A MILLION
LEGITIMATE SERVICE ANIMALS IN
THE U.S. BUT THERE ARE PLENTY OF
PETS PEOPLE CLAIM ARE SERVICE
ANIMALS SO THEY CAN ABUSE THE
PROTECTIONS OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT. THE A.D.A. GENERALLY ALLOWS
SERVICE ANIMALS INTO ALL AREAS
WHERE THE PUBLIC IS NORMALLY
ALLOWED TO GO. IN RECENT YEARS, THERE’S BEEN A
HUGE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF
PEOPLE THAT CLAIM THEIR PETS ARE
SUPPORT OR SERVICE ANIMALS. YOU CAN BUY A LETTER FROM A
PSYCHOLOGIST THAT STATES YOUR
PET IS AN EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
ANIMAL ON LINE FOR ABOUT $150. YOU CAN EVEN REGISTER YOUR DOG
AS A SERVICE DOG ON LINE FOR AS
LITTLE AS $25 EVEN THOUGH REAL
SERVICE ANIMALS DON’T REQUIRE
ANY REGISTRATION.>>IT MAKES IT HARDER ON US. I’VE HAD PEOPLE COME UP AND WANT
TO KNOW WHERE HIS PAPERS ARE. AND WE DON’T HAVE TO HAVE
PAPERS.>>IT’S A HUGE PROBLEM. PEOPLE HAVE — NOW HAVE, YOU
KNOW, EMOTIONAL SUPPORT DOGS AND
CATS AND PEACOCKS AND THEN WE
HAVE PEOPLE THAT CAN BUY VESTS
ON LINE AND SLAP A SERVICE DOG
VEST ON THEIR DOG WHICH IS DOING SUCH A DISSERVICE TO PEOPLE WHO
HAVE DISABILITIES.>>JUST CHECK ON LINE AND YOU
CAN SEE HOW EASY IT IS TO MAKE
ANY PET LOOK LIKE A SERVICE
ANIMAL. ANYONE CAN BUY ONE OF THESE
OFFICIAL LOOKING SERVICE ANIMAL
HARNESSES OR PATCHES. IT’S A PROBLEM THAT’S GROWN OUT
OF CONTROL ON AIRLINES, SO MUCH
SO MANY HAVE CRACKED DOWN ON
WHAT ANIMALS THEY’LL ALLOW IN
THE CABIN.>>PEOPLE THEN BEGIN TO DOUBT
THE FOLKS WHO HAVE A LEGITIMATE
SERVICE DOG.>>YOU CAN GO OUT AND BUY
SOMETHING ON LINE, YOU KNOW, IT
IS JUST GETTING WAY OUT OF HAND. AND SOMEONE NEEDS TO DO
SOMETHING.>>MANY STATES ARE DOING
SOMETHING.>>I’M IN COLORADO. AND WE HAVE ENACTED A LAW THAT
MAKES IT A MISDEMEANOR TO
FALSELY REPRESENT YOUR DOG AS A
SERVICE DOG. IS IT A LITTLE BIT OF MEAT TO
FIGHT PEOPLE THAT ARE ABUSING
THOSE FAKE VESTS AND REALLY
TRYING TO GET THEIR PET INTO
PLACES THEY SHOULDN’T BE IN?>>SO FAR, NO CRACKDOWN IN
ALABAMA.>>YOUR DOG IS YOUR PET DOG,
THEY DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE
IN PUBLIC ESTABLISHMENTS. AND IT IS MAKING IT HARD FOR
PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.>>NO MATTER WHAT KIND OF PET
YOU HAVE, IT’S EASIER NOW THAN
EVER BEFORE TO KEEP THEM
HEALTHY. THERE HAVE BEEN MAJOR ADVANCES
IN VETERINARY CARE OVER THE LAST
SEVERAL DECADES AND NOWHERE IS
THAT MORE EVIDENT THAN HERE ON
THE CAMPUS OF AUBURN UNIVERSITY. THE VETERINARY SCHOOL HERE IS ON
THE CUTTING EDGE WHEN IT COMES
TO TECHNOLOGY. IF YOUR PET HAS A SERIOUS
ILLNESS, THERE’S A GOOD CHANCE
YOUR VET WILL SEND YOU HERE. THE AUBURN SCHOOL OF VETERINARY
MEDICINE WAS THE FIRST
ESTABLISHED IN THE SOUTHEAST AND
IT’S THE SEVENTH OLDEST IN THE
COUNTRY. NOW CELEBRATING ITS 125TH YEAR. HERE, YOU CAN SEE FIRST HAND HOW
FAR VETERINARY CARE HAS COME.>>ONE OF THE THINGS TO ME
THAT’S MOST REMARKABLE IS THE
ADVANCES IN BEING ABLE TO IMAGE
DISEASE PROCESSES AND TO PREDICT
DISEASES IN ANIMALS.>>THIS IS THEIR STATE OF THE
ART M.R.I., AN IMPORTANT
DIAGNOSTIC TOOL.>>WE CAN TAKE A BLOOD SAMPLE OR
SOME OTHER BIOLOGICAL SAMPLE AND
ANALYZE IT USING AN ADVANCED
LEVEL OF TESTING TO BE ABLE TO
IDENTIFY VERY SUBTLE CHANGES
THAT MIGHT INDICATE EARLY STAGES OF DISEASE. BETTER DIAGNOSTICS LEADS TO
BETTER OPPORTUNITIES FOR
TREATMENT.>>THIS TECHNOLOGY ISN’T CHEAP
JUST LIKE HUMAN MEDICAL CARE,
THE PRICE FOR SUCH ADVANCEMENTS
IS OFTEN PASSED ON TO PATIENTS
AND THAT’S WHY PET HEALTH
INSURANCE IS BECOMING MORE AND MORE POPULAR. NOW, MOST MAJOR INSURANCE
COMPANIES OFFER IT.>>WHEN YOU CARE FOR YOUR DOG AS
MUCH AS I DO, YOU WANT TO MAKE
SURE THAT YOU HAVE THAT CUSHION
THERE THAT YOU CAN LEAN ON FOR
HIS CARE.>>TRACY DOVE HAS PET INSURANCE
FOR HER DOG RIGS, SHE SAYS SHE’S
HAD A DOG IN THE PAST WHO WAS
DIAGNOSED WITH CANCER SO SHE
KNOWS HOW BENEFICIAL THE
COVERAGE CAN BE.>>A BLOOD TRANSFUSION FOR A DOG
COSTS $1,000 EACH. SO WHEN I WAS FACED WITH HE
NEEDED ONE MAYBE UP TO THREE,
BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS, WHEN YOU’RE
LOOKING AT THAT COST, THAT’S
WHEN YOU REALLY RELY ON YOUR
INSURANCE.>>ADVERSITY ANIMAL HOSPITAL IN
GARDENDALE ARE SEEING MORE AND
MORE PATIENTS WITH THE COVERAGE.>>THE PET/OWNER RELATIONSHIP
HAS CHANGED IN A MORE POSITIVE
LIGHT OVER THE LAST 10 OR 15, 20
YEARS WHERE PETS ARE MORE OF A
FAMILY MEMBER. SO PEOPLE ARE WANTING AND MORE
WILLING TO SPEND THAT MONEY ON
EITHER PREMIUMS OR VETERINARY
MEDICINE TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR
PETS.>>YOU CAN DECIDE HOW MUCH
COVERAGE YOU WANT AND THE COST
DEPENDS ON THE ANIMAL’S BREED,
AND THEIR AGE. IF YOU HAVE A HEALTHY PET, YOU
MAY NOT SEE THE BENEFIT BUT WHEN
FACED WITH A LIFE-OR-DEATH
DIAGNOSIS, IT CAN TAKE THE
FINANCIAL PRESSURE OFF THE PET
OWNER.>>THEY DON’T HAVE TO WORRY
ABOUT THAT COST FACTOR, YOU
KNOW, THEY CAN FOCUS MORE ON THE
WELLNESS OF THEIR PET. TREATING THEIR PET. AND NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT
FINANCIAL DEBT.>>EVENTUALLY YOUR PET WILL PASS
ON. UNLESS YOU HAVE A TORTOISE, THIS
ONE WILL LIVE ABOUT 100 YEARS,
YOU’RE PROBABLY GOING TO
EXPERIENCE THE LOSS OF A PET AT
SOME POINT. NOW, IT’S NEVER EASY AND THE
GRIEF YOU FEEL WHEN YOUR ANIMAL
COMPANION DIES CAN BE JUST AS
OVERWHELMING AS THE LOSS OF A
HUMAN FAMILY MEMBER. JULIE BLAND SEES A LOT OF PEOPLE
AT A VERY EMOTIONAL TIME IN
THEIR LIVES, WHEN THEY’VE LOST A
LOVED ONE. SHE OWNS A PET CREMATORY.>>IT’S AN HONOR FOR ME TO BE
ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE’S
BABY OF THE IT’S MY PASSION.>>SHE’S OWNED PETS AT PEACE –
SINCE 2012 AND SAYS SHE’S SEEN
THE PET CREMATION INDUSTRY GROW
SUBSTANTIALLY.>>I THINK MORE PEOPLE ARE
FINDING OUT ABOUT IT AND
STARTING TO BE THE NORM.>>SHE INCLUDES A LOCK OF YOUR
PET’S HAIR AND A PAW PRINT ALONG
WITH YOUR PET’S ASHES IN A
WOODEN BOX OR AN URN.>>THERE’S NO TIME LIMIT ON
GRIEF AND SO I THINK KNOWING
THAT THEY HAVE THEIR BABY, THEY
ARE SUPER APPRECIATIVE OF WHAT I
DO.>>THE MAJORITY OF PETS SHE SEES
ARE DOGS AND CATS. SHE CAN CREMATE ANY PET.>>ANYTHING THAT FITS IN YOUR
POCKET IS WHAT I CALL A POCKET
PAL. BIRDS, PET RATS, HAMSTERS. I HAD A 40-YEAR-OLD PARROT.>>THIS IS A PET VET’S TAIL
PRINT AND PAW PRINT.>>YOU GET ATTACHED. AND IT’S BASICALLY ANYTHING
THAT, YOU KNOW, ANYBODY WANTS TO
HAVE CREMATED.>>YOU CAN EVEN CARRY YOUR PET’S
ASHES WITH YOU IN THIS SPECIAL
NECKLACE FILLED WITH SOME OF
THEIR REMAINS.>>I HAVE LOST SEVERAL PETS OVER
THE YEARS, BUT I HAD TWO VERY
SPECIAL DOGS CREMATED. THIS IS KITA. SHE WAS MY FIVE POUND YORKIE WHO
PASSED AWAY IN 2005 AND THAT’S
THE FIRST I’VE EVER HEARD OF PET
CREMATION AND THIS IS BEAR. A 130 POUND MIXED BREED WHO DIED
JUST A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO.>>BREEDING, SHOULD THERE BE
OVERSIGHT FROM THE STATE?>>SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST OPPOSED
TO MORE GOVERNMENT IN ANY SHAPE.>>AND HOW WOULD YOU MAKE IT
FAIR?>>AND —
>>THERE’S PRETTY MUCH A RESCUE
FOR EVERY PUREBRED DOG OUT
THERE.>>CHOOSING THE RIGHT FIT FOR
YOUR FAMILY.>>SOME LAWMAKERS HERE IN
MONTGOMERY HAVE TRIED TO PASS
LEGISLATION THAT WOULD CRACK
DOWN ON PUPPY MILLS. THAT’S A BREEDER WHO PUTS
PROFITS AHEAD OF THE HEALTH AND
WELL BEING OF THEIR ANIMALS. LAWMAKERS HAVEN’T HAD ANY
SUCCESS. RIGHT NOW, THERE ARE NO
REGULATIONS FOR BREEDERS IN THE
STATE, AND THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE
TO PAY SALES TAX ON THE
ESTIMATED MILLIONS AND MILLIONS
OF DOLLARS THEY BRING IN SELLING PUPPIES. THAT’S A LOT OF POTENTIAL TAX
MONEY THAT COULD BE USED TO
REGULATE THE BREEDING INDUSTRY. IT’S A NO BRAINER IF YOU ASK
SOME ANIMAL ADVOCATES.>>DOWN IN MONTGOMERY, OUR
LAWMAKERS TRYING TO FIGURE OUT
HOW TO GET ENOUGH REVENUE TO RUN
THE PUBLIC SERVICE ASPECTS OF
OUR STATE. WE’RE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR
FACE, YOU’VE GOT A WHOLE LOT OF
PEOPLE IN OUR STATE THAT ARE —
HAVE CREATED A VERY NICE ECONOMY
SELLING DOGS FOR A WHOLE LOT OF
MONEY. SOMETIMES AS MUCH AS A USED CAR. AND YET, THE LAWMAKERS SEEM TO
BACK OFF IN WANTING TO HAVE SOME
SORT OF REGULATION ON IT. IF YOU TAXED IT AND TREATED IT
LIKE ANY LEGITIMATE BUSINESS,
THAT COULD POSSIBLY HELP US GET
SOME CONSUMER PROTECTION PIECES
IN PLACE.>>THAT’S ONE REASON WHY MANY
BREEDERS HAVE SUCCESSFULLY
FOUGHT THAT LEGISLATION.>>BREEDERS DON’T WANT TO BE
TAXED AND THEY’RE GOING TO GO TO
THEIR LEGISLATORS AND TELL THEM,
YOU KNOW, WE DON’T THINK THIS IS
FAIR.>>REPRESENTATIVE BROWN
SPONSORED A PUPPY MILL BILL IN
2017. IT DIDN’T EVEN GET OUT OF
COMMITTEE.>>LOT OF PEOPLE SEE THAT AS
MORE GOVERNMENT. AND SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST OPPOSED
TO MORE GOVERNMENT IN ANY SHAPE.>>SINCE THERE’S NO PET
LICENSING IN ALABAMA, IT’S
IMPOSSIBLE TO KNOW EXACTLY HOW
MANY PUPPIES ARE SOLD IN THE
STATE EVERY YEAR BUT THE GREATER
BIRMINGHAM HUMANE SOCIETY LOOKED AT JUST ONE COUNTY. WALKER COUNTY. FOR ONE YEAR, THEY TRACKED PUPPY
SALES FROM FIVE DIFFERENT
BREEDING OPERATIONS.>>IF THOSE PUPPY SALES HAD PAID
SALES TAX TO THEIR LOCAL
ECONOMIES AND TO THE STATE
ECONOMY, IT WAS OVER A MILLION
DOLLARS IN LOST SALES TAXES ON
BOTH LEVELS. IMAGINE IF WE HAD CHOSEN
HUNTSVILLE, BIRMINGHAM AND
MOBILE. WE DON’T KNOW BECAUSE THERE’S
NOBODY TRACKING IT.>>WITH NO BREEDING REGULATIONS
THERE’S VERY LITTLE ANYONE CAN
DO TO STOP UNSCRUPULOUS
BREEDERS.>>THERE’S NO STANDARDS IN
PLACE. WHEN THEY HAVE A PROBABLE CAUSE
TO GO, THEY’RE LOOKING AT ANIMAL
CRUELTY AND IT HAS TO BE PRETTY
BAD. IT DOESN’T HAPPEN. SO MANY TIMES THAT’S PLED OUT TO
HAVE THE DOGS TURNED OVER.>>THAT’S ANOTHER PROBLEM WITH
THE LAWS, IF A PERSON IS CHARGED
WITH ANIMAL CRUELTY, THE PETS
THEY’RE ACCUSED OF MISTREATING
IS CONSIDERED EVIDENCE AND MUST
BE HOUSED AND CARED FOR BEFORE THE CASE IS DECIDED. THAT CAN TAKE MONTHS AND EVEN
OVER A YEAR. THAT CAN GET EXPENSIVE. OFTEN, OFFICIALS AGREE TO DROP
THE CHARGES IF THE DEFENDANT
WILL SURRENDER THEIR ANIMALS TO
BE OUT IMMEDIATELY. SO THE ABUSER DROPS AWAY WITH
LITTLE TO NO PENALTY. PATTY WILLS BREEDS DOGS AT HER
HOME WITH SIX BREEDING FEMALES,
SHE PRODUCES ABOUT 17 PUPPIES A
YEAR. AND SHE AGREES THERE NEEDS TO BE
SOME REGULATION.>>LOOKING AT SOME OF THESE
PEOPLE THAT BREED DOGS AND THESE
DOGS ARE ONLY IN THESE LITTLE
BITTY CAGES, JUST IT’S NOT
RIGHT. I MEAN, THAT IS NOT BREEDING. THAT’S NOT A LIFE FOR A DOG OR A
CAT OR WHATEVER.>>BUT SHE’S WORRIED FORCING
BREEDERS TO COLLECT SALES TAX
WOULDN’T BE FAIRLY ENFORCED.>>SAY SALLY DOWN THE ROAD
ISN’T. SHE’S LETTING HERS KIND OF GO. WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT THAT, THEN? I MEAN —
>>YOU WOULD WANT IT TO BE FAIR.>>YES. HOW WOULD YOU MAKE IT FAIR? THERE’S NO WAY. THERE’S TOO MANY PEOPLE OUT
THERE.>>WHY ARE WE LETTING THIS HUGE
COTTAGE INDUSTRY OPERATE UNDER
OUR NOSES WITH ABSOLUTELY ZERO
OVERSIGHT OR ASKING THEM TO PAY
FOR IT? BECAUSE WHEN THEY’RE BUSTED,
GUESS WHO PAYS FOR IT? TAXPAYERS AND DONORS. WE’RE THE ONES HAVING TO CLEAN
THE MESS UP.>>HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF THE
TERM NO KILL SHELTER? IT MEANS NO ANIMALS ARE
EUTHANIZED. BUT FOLKS HERE IN GREATER
BIRMINGHAM HUMANE SOCIETY SAY
THERE’S NO SUCH THING UNLESS YOU
CAN PICK AND CHOOSE THE ANIMALS
YOU ACCEPT. AND WHEN YOU’RE OPERATING ON
ANIMAL CONTROL AND A SHELTER,
THAT’S NOT AN OPTION. THEY FIGURED OUT A WAY TO BECOME
NOT A NO KILL SHELTER BUT WHAT
THEY LIKE TO CALL A YES SAVE
SHELTER. ONE PART OF THE GREATER
BIRMINGHAM HUMANE SOCIETY’S NEW
PROGRAM IS JUST SAYING NO.>> STOP ALLOWING PEOPLE TO COME
ON DEMAND AND SURRENDER THEIR
PET BECAUSE THEY’RE TIRED OF IT.>>GBHS IS NO LONGER AN OPEN
SHELTER.>>WE DECIDED IN THAT POLICY
CHANGE TO BE HONEST WITH PEOPLE
AND SAY THE SHELTER IS FULL
TODAY. IF YOU BRING YOUR DOG OR CAT IN
TODAY, WE HAVE NO OTHER PLACE TO
PUT IT BUT TO PUT IT DOWN. NOBODY WANTS TO SAY TO THE OWNER
WHO IS ALREADY CRYING, YOUR DOG
MAY VERY WELL WALK RIGHT BACK
THERE AND BE EUTHANIZED IN THE
NEXT 10 MINUTES. BUT WHEN THE PUBLIC WAS HERE IN
THE PAST TWO SUMMERS AND THERE
WERE 40 AND 50 PEOPLE LINED UP
BACK OUT THERE, YOU’RE JUST IN
DENIAL ALL OF US BECAUSE YOU CAN
SEE WE ONLY HAVE SO MANY KENNELS. WHERE DO YOU THINK WE’LL PUT
THEM?>>THAT BRUTAL HONESTY HAS HAD
AN IMPACT. NOW IF YOU WANT TO SURRENDER
YOUR PET, YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE AN
APPOINTMENT. IN THE MEANTIME, VOLUNTEERS WORK
TO FIND OUT WHY AN OWNER WANTS
TO GIVE UP THEIR PET.>>IS IT SOMETHING THAT WE CAN
TAKE CARE OF? DO YOU NEED A DOGHOUSE? DO YOU NEED VACCINATIONS? DOES THE ANIMAL HAVE A
VETERINARY PROCEDURE THAT YOU
CAN’T AFFORD?>>IN MANY CASES, GBHS CAN HELP.>>WE CAN LITERALLY HAVE A
CONVERSATION AND BRING THEM THE
RIGHT KIND OF DOGHOUSE WHICH IS
NEVER A PROBLEM. GET THE ANIMAL ON A RUN INSTEAD
OF A TETHER AND PROBLEM SOLVED.>>MANY END UP KEEPING THEIR
PETS.>>THAT PROGRAM HAS BLOWN US
AWAY. IT’S NOW DIVERTED OVER 1300
ANIMALS FROM THIS SHELTER IN THE
PAST SEVERAL MONTHS.>>THEY ALSO FUNNEL THOUSANDS OF
ANIMALS TO NORTHERN STATES
BECAUSE OF MANDATORY SPAY/NEUTER
LAWS THERE, THERE’S A SHORTAGE
OF ADOPTABLE PETS. ON THIS DAY, 25 DOGS ARE HEADED
TO MADISON, WISCONSIN. VOLUNTEERS TAKE ABOUT 1600
ANIMALS A YEAR NORTHWARD. AND WHEN THEY ARRIVE, THEY’RE
OFTEN LINES OF PEOPLE WAITING TO
TAKE HOME ONE OF ALABAMA’S
UNWANTED ANIMALS. BECAUSE OF THESE PROGRAMS,
CORNELIUS SAYS THEY’VE GONE
SEVERAL MONTHS WITHOUT HAVING TO
EUTHANIZE ONE SINGLE ANIMAL
BECAUSE OF A LACK OF SPACE. THAT’S ZERO. BUT MAKING THOSE RESOURCES
AVAILABLE IS EXPENSIVE.>>THE MAJORITY OF THE FUNDS
THAT WE RECEIVE ARE SMALL GIFTS. THEY’RE LIKE $25 CHECKS. $5 CHECKS. $10 CHECKS.>>THAT’S HOW YOU SURVIVE?>>YES.>>SHE SAYS THEY GET ABOUT A
MILLION DOLLARS FROM ANIMAL
CONTROL CONTRACTS FROM VARIOUS
MUNICIPALITIES BUT HAVE ALMOST A
$5 MILLION BUDGET. THE REST HAS TO COME FROM
FUNDRAISING.>>IT IS A 24/7 JOB TO MAKE SURE
THERE’S ENOUGH FUNDING IN HERE
EVERY DAY TO DO WHAT WE DO. BECAUSE IT’S THE FUNDING THAT
100% DETERMINES HOW MANY LIVES
WE CAN CHANGE.>>SHELBY HUMANE REPORTS A
DECREASE IN THEIR EUTHANASIA
RATES AS WELL. THEY CREDIT A FREE AND LOW COST
SPAY AND NEUTER PROGRAM. THEY ALSO TRANSPORT MORE THAN
500 DOGS A YEAR TO PLACES LIKE
WISCONSIN, ILLINOIS AND NEW
JERSEY. UP NEXT, DOGS, CATS OR SOMETHING
MORE EXOTIC? WE’LL TAKE A LOOK AT THE KINDS
OF ANIMALS PEOPLE OWN AND
PICKING THE RIGHT ONE FOR YOU.>>WE’VE TALKED A LOT ABOUT CATS
AND DOGS. I MEAN, THEY ARE THE MOST
POPULAR PETS. ABOUT 70% OF ALL U.S. HOUSEHOLDS
HAVE ONE OR THE OTHER OR BOTH. BUT SOME PEOPLE PREFER SOMETHING
A LITTLE MORE EXOTIC.>>LIKE ANDREW FOSTER. HE HAS A MONKEY. KONG IS 1-YEAR-OLD NOW AND
ANDREW GOT HIM NOT LONG AFTER HE
WAS BORN. WE MET UP WITH THEM AT A GYM BUT
KONG WASN’T INTERESTED ON
SWINGING ON THE ROPES. HE REALLY DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE
ANDREW’S SHOULDER AND HE SLOWLY
WARMED UP TO ME AND THE OTHER
FOLKS IN THE GYM BUT KEPT ANDREW
IN HIS SIGHTS.>>HE GOES EVERYWHERE WITH YOU?>>EVERYWHERE WITH ME. HE’S ON ME 24/7.>>THAT’S RIGHT. THEY SPEND EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY
DAY TOGETHER. NO CRATES OR CAGES FOR THIS PET.>>IT TAKES ALL OF YOUR TIME. OK? THERE ISN’T — YOU DON’T HAVE A
FEW HOURS WITH HIM AND THEN PUT
HIM IN A CAGE. NO. HE’S GOING TO GET ILL ABOUT
GOING IN THE CAGE. YOU KNOW, HE’S JUST LIKE A HUMAN
BEING. YOU DON’T WANT TO LOCK HIM UP OR
YOU WILL HAVE AN ANIMAL THAT YOU
CANNOT HOLD OR LOVE.>>KONG WEARS A DIAPER AND ACTS
A LOT LIKE A HUMAN TODDLER ONLY
THIS ONE CAN SWING FROM YOUR
CURTAINS AND JUMP ON TOP OF YOUR
FRIDGE.>>THIS IS A BIG TIME COMMITMENT
AND THIS IS LIKE A 2-YEAR-OLD
FOR 40 YEARS. WHO IS GOING TO BE — HE’S GOING
TO DEPEND ON ME FOR 40 YEARS.>>IF THAT’S TOO MUCH OF A
COMMITMENT, HOW ABOUT SOMETHING
LESS FURRY LIKE A REPTILE.>>COME HERE!>>THESE TORTOISES START OUT AT
ONLY A FEW INCHES. THEY CAN LIVE DECADES GROWING
PRETTY LARGE BUT DON’T REQUIRE
AS MUCH ATTENTION. EIGHT MILLION AMERICANS HAVE
BIRDS DEPENDING ON THE SPECIES,
HEY MIGHT OUTLIVE YOU. FURRY LITTLE CRITTERS LIKE
GERBILS AND CHINCHILLAS ARE
PRETTY COMMON. WHAT ABOUT A HEDGEHOG? WHAT ABOUT HORSES? TWO MILLION HOMES HAVE ONE. TOO BIG YOU SAY? YOU CAN GET THE MINIATURE
VERSION. THEY LIVE SIDE BY SIDE WITH MINI
COWS. THE SAME OWNER HAS CAMELS,
ZEBRAS AND EXOTIC PIGS ON HIS
FARM IN WILSONVILLE. THOSE PETS AREN’T EASY TO FIND
AND THEY WILL COST YOU A PRETTY
PENNY. WE’VE SEEN A LOT OF INTERESTING
ANIMALS OVER THE LAST HOUR. AND NOW, YOU MAY BE ITCHING TO
GET A MONKEY OR A HEDGEHOG OR
MAYBE SOMETHING A LITTLE MORE
TRADITIONAL. BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT ANIMAL
OR WHAT BREED IS RIGHT FOR YOU? YOU MIGHT BE LONGING FOR A HUSKY
BECAUSE YOU THINK THEY’RE
GORGEOUS. BUT DID YOU KNOW THAT DOG BREED
IS ONE OF THE MOST ACTIVE? SO PROBABLY NOT A GOOD CHOICE IF
YOUR IDEA OF FUN IS CHILLING ON
THE SOFA. BUT GREAT FOR AN ACTIVE FAMILY
THAT LOVES THE OUTDOORS.>>LIKE WE HAVE MIXED BREED
BORDER COLLIES HERE AND WE CAN
TELL YOU REALLY QUICKLY THAT
WOULD NOT BE A GREAT APARTMENT
DOG. YOU KNOW, RIGHT. THEY NEED COWS AND FARMS AND
KIDS AND LOTS OF RUNNING OR
THEY’RE GOING TO BE DESTRUCTIVE.>>ON THE OTHER HAND, BULLDOGS
LIKE RIGGS LOVE TO CHILL AND
WITH THOSE SHORT LEGS, THEY’RE
NOT DOING A WHOLE LOT OF
JOGGING. THERE ARE PLENTY OF ON-LINE
QUIZZES YOU CAN TAKE TO FIND OUT
WHAT ANIMAL WOULD WORK BEST FOR
YOUR LIFESTYLE. BUT LET’S BE HONEST. THAT’S NOT HOW MOST OF US CHOOSE
A PET.>>MOST FOLKS, THERE’S SOMETHING
THAT HAPPENS WHEN THEY SEE AN
ANIMAL, THERE’S A CONNECTION. AND I CAN’T — I’M NEVER GOING
TO BE ABLE TO INTERFERE WITH
THAT. I SEE AMAZING THINGS WITH THAT. I DON’T CARE WHAT I HAVE TO DO. I HAVE TO HAVE THAT DOG. IT’S LIKE SOMETHING ABOUT THAT
ONE. THERE’S A CHEMISTRY.>>THE ADOPTION COUNSELORS AT
YOUR LOCAL ANIMAL SHELTER CAN
HELP YOU AS WELL SINCE THEY ARE
FAMILIAR WITH THEIR ADOPTABLE
PETS. BUT THERE ARE PLENTY OF PEOPLE
WHO DON’T WANT TO GO TO THE
SHELTER BECAUSE THEY WANT A
PUREBRED DOG OR CAT. THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO GO
TO A BREEDER.>>THERE’S PRETTY MUCH A RESCUE
FOR EVERY PUREBRED DOG OUT THERE
THAT YOU CAN IMAGINE.>>LIKE ADOPT A GOLDEN
BIRMINGHAM. IT’S A RESCUE FOR YOU GUESSED IT
GOLDEN RETRIEVERS.>>WE KIND OF LEARN WHAT THEY
LIKE, WHAT THEY DON’T LIKE, THE
NUANCES OF THE DOG AND THEN WE
HELP FIND THEM HOMES.>>SHE KNEW SHE WANTED THAT
BREED BUT ALSO WANTED TO RESCUE
A DOG THAT NEEDED A HOME.>>WE STARTED LOOKING AROUND,
AND WE FOUND ADOPT A GOLDEN. AND I THOUGHT WELL, THAT’S
PERFECT. WE LOVE GOLDENS. WE HAVE A GOLDEN. WHY NOT?>>ALABAMA IS HOME TO RESCUES
THAT FOCUS ON GERMAN SHEPHERDS,
KING CHARLES CAVALIERS,
PITBULLS, BOXERS, SIBERIAN
HUSKIES, BEAGLES AND ONE THAT
DEALS WITH ALL TOY BREEDS. THERE’S SEVERAL CAT RESCUES LIKE
KITTY CAT HAVEN. AND A FEW THAT ACTUALLY SAVE
RABBITS. IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR ANOTHER
BREED, THERE’S PROBABLY ONE IN A
NEIGHBORING STATE. BUT MANY PEOPLE WILL STILL GO TO
BREEDERS.>>IF YOU’RE INSISTENT ON
GETTING A PUREBRED ANIMAL, LET
US HELP YOU FIND A BREEDER
THAT’S RESPONSIBLE SO YOU DON’T
GET TAKEN.>>AND THERE ARE REPUTABLE
BREEDERS OUT THERE. BUT HOW DO YOU KNOW WHICH ONE
YOU’RE DEALING WITH? THE ANIMAL ACTIVIST WE TALKED TO
SAY THERE ARE SIGNS THAT YOU CAN
LOOK OUT FOR.>>IF SOMEONE IS WILLING TO SHIP
TO YOU OR MEET YOU IN A PARKING
LOT, THAT’S A HUGE RED FLAG
RIGHT THERE.>>THAT’S BECAUSE THEY MAY NOT
WANT YOU TO SEE THE CONDITIONS
OF THE BREEDING PARENTS. SO ASK TO SEE THE MOM AND DAD. ASK TO SEE WHERE THE PARENTS AND
PUPPIES SLEEP. ASK IF THEY HAVE A HEALTH
GUARANTEE ON THEIR PUPPIES. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME THEIR
BREEDING PARENTS SAW A VET? DO THEY HAVE A BUSINESS LICENSE? IS THE BUSINESS REGISTERED WITH
THE SECRETARY OF STATE? CHECK WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS
BUREAU. THOSE WHO DEAL WITH ABANDONED
AND MISTREATED ANIMALS WOULD
RATHER YOU ADOPT.>>I THINK THE ADOPTION THING IS
THE SMART THING TO DO. I THINK IT’S GOOD FOR THE KIDS
AND GOOD FOR THE FAMILY. MOST PEOPLE WANT A GREAT PET
LIKE THE ONES YOU SEE ON TV. IF YOU WANT A GREAT PET LIKE THE
ONES YOU SEE IN MOVIES OR
TELEVISION, PICK OUT A DOG
THAT’S 1 OR 2 YEARS OLD AND
YOU’RE GOING TO PROBABLY END UP
WITH THAT.>>A RECENT SURVEY SHOWS MORE
THAN 85 MILLION AMERICAN
FAMILIES HAVE AT LEAST ONE PET. THAT’S MORE THAN HALF OF ALL
U.S. HOUSEHOLDS. NOW, OVER THE PAST HOUR, WE HAVE
SHOWN YOU PET POSITIVES AND SOME
OF THE BAD THINGS THAT CAN
HAPPEN TO ANIMALS AT THE HANDS
OF HUMANS. BUT ONE THING IS CERTAIN. THEIR LIVES ARE IN OUR HANDS. AND PROTECTING OUR PETS IS OUR
RESPONSIBILITY. FOR WVTM 13 “CHRONICLE”, I’M
LISA CRANE.

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