“The dusty white cargo plane stood out among the gleaming corporate jets, as did its passengers: 48 barking dogs, newly arrived at the private air terminal at Hanscom Field, outside of Boston.
They had left Mississippi that morning with their health certificates taped to their kennels. All week, the staff at Oktibbeha County Humane Society (OCHS), in Starkville, Miss., had been getting them ready, giving them their shots, testing their temperaments, and color-coding each crate for its destination: red for Second Chance Animal Services in North Brookfield, Mass.”
Advice from Second Chance Founder & CEO Sheryl Blancato
Maybe you have your heart set on a Golden Retriever or a French Bulldog. You’ve been visiting your local shelter and shelter websites with no luck. In fact, there’s not as many pets to choose from as there were a few years ago and you wonder how you’ll ever find your new furry family member.
Animal transports are not a new thing, but with so few pets locally surrendered to shelters here in New England, the practice has greatly increased. How do you know that the pet you are getting is not from a puppy mill?
As with everything, opportunity sometimes fosters a negative side. Transporting pets from overcrowded shelters where they are at risk of euthanasia to shelters in areas where families are waiting to adopt is a wonderful thing. It saves so many lives. Local pets should always be the first priority, but when that number has declined to a point that a shelter or rescue has room to help pets from other states too, it is a good way to save more lives.
Prospective pet owners need to be careful though. There are people out there posing as rescues when they are not. In animal welfare, there are lots of names for them like “puppy flippers.” There are flags to watch out for and alert you to do further investigation. If you live in Massachusetts and you find a pet online that you want to adopt, beware if they will only meet you in Connecticut or somewhere else over the border. That tells you that they are not registered in the state of Massachusetts. There is a mandatory 48-hour quarantine requirement for all pets entering Massachusetts from other states. They may be trying to avoid that and once they leave the drop off site, you can be left on your own if the pet gets sick. You can find legitimate, registered organizations listed on the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources website.
There is also a growing trend of people bringing puppies into the state without health certificates and claiming that they raised the puppies. These pets may actually be from puppy mills. You should always ask to see the parents of the puppies, or at the very least the mom. If they refuse, beware. If they have several different breeds available, that should also be a red flag warranting further investigation. Reputable breeders usually only breed one or two breeds. They do it to further the bloodline of their beloved breed. They care deeply about the offspring and will often require a contract before you can take one of their pups home.
We all need to be sure that when we are adopting a pet that we are helping that pet and not supporting a puppy mill. We need to be sure that transporting is done safely for the pets and not putting them at risk. There are best practices that all shelters and rescues follow when bringing pets in from out of state. A truck on the side of the road, tightly packed floor to ceiling with crates and poor airflow who are handing out pets to those that have cash is not one of them. Let’s all work together to ensure that all pets are safe and that we don’t unknowingly support the practice of puppy mill operations.
Second Chance Assisting in Tornado Recovery Efforts
Nonprofit Takes in Transport from Kentucky Shelters
EAST BROOKFIELD, MA (December 15, 2021) – Second Chance Animal Services this morning took in 11 homeless cats and kittens from animal shelters in tornado ravaged Kentucky. The transport, facilitated by the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,) will free up space and resources to care for pets that have been displaced by last weekend’s devastating tornadoes.
Second Chance CEO Sheryl Blancato explains that the cats picked up at Hanscom Field Airport by Second Chance were already in animal shelters when the tornadoes struck. “Our hearts are breaking as we see the devastation and are ready to do anything we can do to help,” says Blancato. “As an ASPCA Emergency Placement Response Partner, we were expecting the call and began preparations at our Almost Home transport facility.”
There will be a full house at the Almost Home facility. 13 cats are still at the facility from the recent large-scale local rescue. A total of 15 kittens were born to six pregnant cats, bringing the total to 88 for that case alone. The facility also welcomes weekly transports from overcrowded shelters.
The cats and kittens will complete a 48-hour state-mandated quarantine and have all their veterinary needs met before they make the trip to the Second Chance Adoption Center to begin their search for a new home. Anyone wishing to donate toward their care can donate at secondchanceanimals.org/donate/ or checks can be mailed to Second Chance Animal Services, PO Box 136, East Brookfield, MA 01515.
From large-scale rescues to emergency surgeries, 2021 has been an extraordinary year of saving lives for Second Chance Animal Services. We have responded to more emergency cases this year than ever before, saving pets with nowhere else to turn. By year’s end Second Chance will have helped over 40,000 pets. The total is very similar to 2019 and 2020, but this year so many of the pets we helped were in crisis.
Day after day, our hospitals are squeezing in another surgery to save a dog suffering from a life-threatening uterine infection or a cat who has eaten something he shouldn’t have. They arrive in a critical state. We have adjusted our schedules to accommodate as many emergency surgeries as possible because we may be their last chance.
Some may be diagnosed by an emergency facility that isn’t able to perform surgery in time to save the pet due to the ongoing emergency veterinary care crisis. Others are referred to us when emergency surgical costs are out of reach for those with limited budgets. Second Chance is one of the only hospitals in Massachusetts that offers subsidized rates for emergency care.
Second Chance’s Almost Home transport facility has also been busier than ever, welcoming rescues from southern shelters that are near capacity. We also took in 73 cats from a local large-scale rescue this fall that included six pregnant moms. A total of 15 kittens were born, bringing the total to 88 for that one case alone.
Each pet that comes through Almost Home has all their medical needs met including a full veterinary exam and tests, vaccines, and spay or neuter surgery if necessary before they can go to the Adoption Center in East Brookfield to begin their search for a new home. The Adoption Center also takes in local surrenders and ensures their veterinary needs are met as well.
The incredible demand for help has put a strain, not only on the Second Chance staff, but on a limited budget as well. Supply costs continue to increase, and the tight labor market continues to drive labor cost upward. Blancato says that despite the rising costs, Second Chance is committed to expanding capacity in 2022. We know there are many more pets who need help and we’ve set a goal to help 45,000 pets in the new year. We can’t let these pets down, but we can’t do it alone.
Second Chance opened their long-awaited fourth Community Veterinary Hospital in Southbridge this fall. The facility is currently open three days a week and plans to accommodate a full schedule and add a weekly vaccine clinic in the new year as hiring and funding allow.
You can help! You donation today can help a pet with nowhere else to turn.
When Chance arrived at our doors, he was in pain. This poor pup had suffered from lifelong ear infections and a painful condition that caused his eyelashes to scratch the surface of his eyes. With your support, we were able to change his life:
“Chance went to his foster home yesterday! Before he left I went to say goodbye and he gave me his paw and held it there as a thank you. It’s hard to see but it was so sweet and sincere. He is much more comfortable and playing like a puppy now.” ~ Dr. Cormier who performed Chance’s lifechanging surgery
We are so grateful for your support. Together we’ve helped over 40,000 in the past year. Thank you to those who have already made an early donation to help sustain all the Second Chance programs that pets rely on for 2022. If you would like to help, please consider a donation today.
Give the gift of a ‘second chance’
From now through December 7th, 2021, visit Double the Donation’s matching gift search. You can easily see if your company will match your donation and access the forms, guidelines, and instructions you need to submit your matching gift.
More Ways to Increase Your Impact:
Even if your employer doesn’t offer a matching gift, here are two more ways to increase the impact of your gift on Giving Tuesday:
Donate to our Global Giving Project to Keep Pets Out of Shelters. Global Giving is offering a $1,000,000 incentive fund for all donations (up to $2,500 per individual donations) made throughout the day on Giving Tuesday. The more we raise on November 30th, the more Second Chance can earn, so we can help even more pets. We need $3,752 to reach our goal to help keep 200 pets out of shelters and with the people they love.
Facebook is also offering to match donations made through Facebook begining at 8am. Beacuse of the popularity of this program, the $8 million goes very fast so if you want to take advantage of this method to increase your impact, be ready to hit the final submit button right at 8am Eastern Time.