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Cheyenne Mom And Daughter Crafting Beds Out Of Meal Delivery Kits For Rescued Dogs

in News/Good news
20108

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Deborah Dunham said her mom, Alice Pitcher, is consistently trying to find a way to use items more than just once.

For pretty much all of Dunham’s life, her mom has been the type of person who does not like to waste things.

And Dunham has followed in her mom’s footsteps — now reusing packing material to make life for rescued dogs in Colorado a little more comfortable.

Dunham and Pitcher both make beds for an animal rescue operation in Colorado.

“We’re both sewers and we will randomly find things to use scrap fabric for,” Dunham said. “So we volunteer with an animal rescue down in Colorado and we were curious how we could do more for the animals.”

So the two began making dog beds, stuffing them with using scrap fabric.

This way, the dogs at Soul Dog Rescue in Fort Lupton, Colorado, would have fresh, new beds to sleep on as they waited to find their forever homes. Plus, if they tore up the beds, there is less likelihood of them choking on the tiny pieces of fabric, Dunham said.

But after making the beds stuffed with fabric, the mother and daughter discovered another way to make beds while also using what would have been waste.

“I started getting the Home Chef meals and the meal delivery kits come with a lot of packaging,” Dunham said. “There’s this insulation inside and while the company says it’s compostable, the only thing that can really be composted is the inside, the rest would just go into a landfill. But for a pet bed, it’s perfect.”

Now, Dunham and Pitcher are collecting meal delivery kit insulation material from Cheyenne residents in order to make more pet beds for the Colorado shelter, as well as a shelter in Cheyenne.

While Dunham noted that the beds themselves could not be washed due to the insulation material, the idea of getting one more use out of the insulation was attractive.

“It got used once and that was once more than it was intended for and it’s not going to waste. Plus, it will be a nice bed for a dog, even if it’s just to transport them,” she said. “Everything I do revolves around what else can I do for these animals. If we can make them comfortable in a crate, that’s great.”

Dunham put out a call for materials on Facebook and actually received “five or six” responses from people who wanted to help, she said. Pitcher is currently working on making the pet beds and the more material they receive, the more beds they can make.

Dunham said she never really thought about the desire she and her mother share to to keep more items out of landfills, but when she thought about it, she liked the fact that she and Pitcher can extend an item’s usefulness just a little bit.

“My mom is so much more creative in how we can reuse things. I just happened to have the material and she put it into action,” Dunham said.

Soul Dog Rescue works to save animals from suffering and mistreatment due to overpopulation and lack of resources in the Four Corners area of Colorado, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. The organization works to spay and neuter animals on Native reservations and have rescued more than 15,000 animals to date.

Anyone interested in donating materials to Dunham can reach out to her on Facebook.

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Cheyenne Animal Shelter Employee Explains How Cold Is Too Cold Outside For Wyoming Pets

in News/weather
17272

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Forecasts for frigid temperatures across Wyoming from Tuesday through at least Thursday have residents bundling up and adding layer after layer of clothing.

The cold snap also has the Cheyenne Animal Shelter staff urging pet owners to be aware of how cold is “too cold” for their furry friends when going outside.

“For smaller animals, coats are a good idea, but the best thing is to make sure time outside is brief and all about getting business done,” Niki Harrison, branding director for the animal shelter, told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday. “It’s important to take your pets out to use the restroom, just make sure to watch for any signs of discomfort to their paws and keep the outing short.”

The animal shelter shared a chart on its social media Tuesday indicating what temperatures would be too low for dogs ranging in size from small to large. Once the temperatures hit 55 degrees or higher, all dogs are safe to walk and play outside.

However, as temperatures drop from there, small dogs run a higher risk of developing cold-related health issues such as frostbite or hypothermia. By the time temperatures fall to 10 degrees or colder, dogs of every size run the risk cold weather maladies.

Puppies, elderly dogs and dogs with short coats specifically should spend limited amounts of time outside, as they are particularly susceptible to getting sick in frigid weather.

But dogs are not the only animals that might be outside in cold temperatures.

Barn cats and community cats are pretty savvy when it comes to cold weather but still need places made available to shelter from the cold,” Harrison said. “There are so many great ideas out there to make shelters out of old coolers or containers for feral cats. If you have a typical indoor/outdoor cat, weather like this constitutes keeping them inside.”

She added that chickens should also be kept out of the cold in a coop that is properly ventilated. Anyone with chickens should ensure there is no cold air blowing directly on the birds and make sure the animals have water and food to weather the storm.

Thankfully, the Cheyenne shelter does not see an increase of animals being brought in during colder weather, but Harrison pointed out that there are definitely animals that lose their way while out in the snow.

On really windy days, when fences might blow down, we definitely see more pets, though,” she said. “It’s always important to have microchip information updated and have the proper identification tags on your pets if they’re headed outside; that way, we can get ahold of the owner quickly.

She also noted that local animal control departments across the state, as well as in Cheyenne, are great community resources that will do wellness checks on animals people have concerns about during the freezing conditions.

Just keep an eye on your pets and enjoy the time by snuggling up together somewhere warm!” Harrison said.

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Wyoming Officials Warn of Toxic Algae Bloom Danger to Dogs

in News
1817

State officials are urging pet owners to keep their dogs away from water where a toxic algae may be found.

Harmful Cyanobacteria Blooms or HCBs have been blamed for the deaths of dogs in Texas, Georgia and North Carolina. In each case, the dogs jumped into ponds or lakes containing blooms, also known as “Blue Algae,” and died within hours.

Blue Algae has been spotted in ponds and lakes around Wyoming and officials with the state Department of Health, Department of Environmental Quality and Livestock Board are urging people to stay out of water with the blooms.

The danger the algae poses for dogs is very high, said Dr. Karl Musgrave of the Wyoming Department of Health, and there are no known antidotes.

“The main toxin in this … bacteria produces a nerve toxin that actually paralyzes the lungs, the respiratory system,” he said. “So it acts really fast, within hours, and often there’s not much that can be done. If people do run into that situation, just try to get your pet to the veterinarian as soon as you can.”

The algae blooms typically occur during late summer to early fall and are most often found in still or slow-moving water. The blooms are generally blue or green and may look like grass clippings, scum, floating mats or spilled paint.

People who find themselves near the algae are warned by state officials not to swallow any water from around the bloom. The toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtration or any other treatment.

Fish caught in the area of blooms should be thoroughly rinsed with clean water before they are eaten and then, only the filet of the fish should be consumed.

Pets or livestock should not be allowed to drink water near a bloom, eat the algae or lick their fur after contact. Any animal or human coming in contact with a bloom should be rinsed as soon as possible with clean water.

Algae blooms seen in Sweetwater County reservoir

The Wyoming Department of Health has issued a recreational use advisory for Eden Reservoir in Sweetwater County due to a harmful bloom of cyanobacteria, commonly known as “Blue-Green Algae”. 

On Aug. 5, the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN), a division of the Environmental Protection Agency, used satellite imagery to identify the HCB or Harmful Cyanobacterial Bloom, covering portions of the Eden Reservoir north of Farson.  

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality collected water samples on Aug. 8 and found bacteria densities exceeding the recreational use threshold prescribed by Wyoming’s HCB Action Plan.
Eden Reservoir remains open during the recreational advisory, but the DEQ advises members of the public to check for posted warning signs because algae bloom conditions change frequently. Also, visitors are advised to keep pets and children away from affected areas.

For information about health effects and recreational use advisories, contact Dr. Karl Musgrave, State Environmental Health Epidemiologist and Public Health Veterinarian at the Wyoming Department of Health, at karl.musgrave@wyo.gov or (307) 777-5825.

Information on cyanobacteria sampling can be obtained from Michael Thomas, Natural Resource Analyst, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, at michael.thomas@wyo.gov or (307) 777-2073, or by contacting Lindsay Patterson, Surface Water Quality Standards Coordinator, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, at lindsay.patterson@wyo.gov or (307) 777-7079.
More information on HCBs can be found at,
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality
www.wyohcbs.org/

Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN)
https://www.epa.gov/
water-research/cyanobacteria-assessment-network-cyan

Animal abuse measure amended to remove felony language

in News/Criminal justice
974

By Cowboy State Daily

A measure that would have made it a felony to repeatedly abuse animals is heading for a Senate review, but without the felony penalty language.

The Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday approved HB 235, but removed all language strengthening the penalty for animal abuse.

As originally worded, anyone convicted more than once on a charge of cruelty to animals could have been charged with a felony and sentenced to up to two years in prison. Currently, animal abuse is a misdemeanor.

Sen. Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle, proposed the amendment stripping the felony language out of the bill. She said as written, the language did not specifically define what an animal is and she feared it would not be approved by the Senate.

Steinmetz said if enforced, existing laws would be sufficient to address the problem of animal cruelty.

“There are a lot of penalties and statutes on the books that deal with that,” she said. “I think that they’re probably not being enforced as much as folks would like to see.”

The bill still contains language that would let a judge bar a person convicted in a domestic abuse case from owning or caring for an animal.

The bill is on the list of measures to be considered in the Senate’s “Committee of the Whole.”

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