August 6, 2013
Sarah Henriksen has been fostering cats and kittens since December 2009, caring for a total of 148 felines in that time. Working from home has allowed her to take on animals that have special needs, such as cats recovering from injuries or needing special care before and after surgery. So when she heard about the Bottle Babies program, she felt it was right up her alley. “I get a lot of personal satisfaction knowing that what I am doing is making a direct impact, and the Bottle Babies program is a great way to make a difference in the lives of these tiny animals that AHS had not previously been able to help,” says Sarah.
The Bottle Babies program places orphaned kittens ages 2-4 weeks into special foster homes to be bottle fed and weaned. Once weaned, they are placed in general foster homes until they are ready for surgery and adoption. While she only spends about two weeks with each group of kittens, Sarah says it’s an incredibly rewarding experience. “It’s amazing to see how quickly these little guys grow and mature. They start out so small and helpless, and quickly become the rambunctious little cuties that I know and love from ‘regular’ foster.”
Sarah doesn’t downplay the amount of work that goes into caring for bottle babies, acknowledging that it’s a commitment that requires a flexible schedule and a willingness to plan around scheduled feedings and cleanings. But of all the work that goes into it, she says the hardest part has been bringing them back for “graduation” to regular foster.
An additional benefit of fostering is that Sarah is able to make it into a family affair. Sarah and her family have cared for 16 bottle baby kittens so far this summer. “I love fostering because it is a family activity. Once the kittens settle in and learn to take a bottle, I love the help that my ‘tween’ daughters provide,” says Sarah.
Because Bottle Babies was a pilot program this year, volunteers were recruited from current AHS kitten foster volunteers. As this program expands, more foster homes will be needed. Interested volunteers can ready themselves by becoming general foster volunteers now so they can gain experience to be Bottle Babies volunteers next spring and summer.
Animal Humane Society, working with area law enforcement authorities, removed 133 dogs and puppies from a breeding operation in Pine River, Minn., on July 16, the result of an investigation into complaints of animal cruelty at the facility. The animals are being cared for by AHS pending the outcome of an August 7 court hearing to determine the custody of the animals. The judge presiding over the hearing could take as long as 30 days to issue a ruling.
Following the seizure, the breeder, Deborah Rowell, was charged by the Cass County attorney’s office with nine counts of violating the state’s animal cruelty laws.
According to the complaint, an investigation of Rowell’s operation by the Cass County sheriff’s office found multiple violations of the law, including: neglect, deprivation of appropriate shelter, improper closures, inadequate ventilation, improper dog houses, inadequate shade, and deprivation of adequate and necessary water. Eight of the charges are misdemeanors with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine or both. The charge of improper dog house is a petty misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of a $300 fine.
“Multiple dogs were being housed in overcrowded dog houses and runs,” a statement from the county attorney’s office said. “Many dog houses did not meet statutory requirements for elevation to keep dogs and bedding from mixing with waste and rain water. Many of the water containers appeared to have dirty, green colored water with one bucket containing a dead, floating rodent. Temperatures in the kennel and dog houses were extremely high with very little if any ventilation and inadequate shade.”
Rowell’s initial court appearance on the criminal charges is August 19.
Story submitted by Cynthia F.
It was my third trip to Animal Humane Society that week. Two weeks after my 18-year-old Malaki passed away. "Marshmallow" was the first cat I visited with that afternoon. It wasn't the best visit. She didn't play and just tucked herself behind me, peeping her head out only to growl at the people that would walk by the visiting room door. She was a bit ratty, her fur was stiff and wiry. She obviously had kittens recently, and was not a very happy cat. But she was purring, and when I would pick her up, she would burrow herself into my chest.
I took her back to her cage and visited with several other cats during the time I was there. At the last minute, a cat named Fred was brought back after an unsuccessful adoption. He was playful and young. My friend talked me into the idea of taking Fred home. When we returned to the main feline room, she told the attendant that I was going to adopt Fred. The attendant looked at me and said, "You are taking Fred?" and as I said “Yes,” Marshmallow got up for the first time since I'd returned her to her cage, came to the door and let out the saddest meow I'd ever heard. My heart melted and I started to tear up. I looked at her and she meowed again. I changed my mind, and adopted Marshmallow, that day.
That first night, Marshmallow and I were hanging out in my room and she would go off to explore the space and then run back onto my bed, up my chest to my face and plant a wet kiss right on my face. We decided to name her Bisou, after the French saying, "faire le bisou," meaning “to greet one with kisses.”
Bisou's belly has filled out. She had a good check up at the veterinarian. She has grown in a new, super soft coat, and has happily taken on the responsibilities of running the house. She only complains when she's left alone too long. And I only complain when she mistakes the couch for her scratching post. I'm glad Bisou picked me that day at AHS.
Looking to keep your kids busy on those upcoming no-school days? Register them for our Unleashed Day Camps. There are two camps available this fall, one on October 17–18 and another on November 27. Both are great opportunities to keep your kids entertained all day with fun, educational activities designed especially for animal lovers!
These camps are available for kids in grades 3–6 at our Golden Valley location and are different in content from our summer camps. Registration is now open, reserve your child’s spot today!
If your animal-loving child wants to get involved at Animal Humane Society on a more regular basis, they can make a difference in the lives of animals by joining the PetSet Youth Club. This club is designed for kids in grades 5–7 who want to learn about animal welfare issues through fun activities while developing volunteering and community service skills.
Registration is now open for the fall semester of PetSet Youth Club. Groups meet twice a month in Woodbury or Golden Valley. The membership fee for one semester (four months) is $75. Members may join throughout the semester and pay a prorated registration fee. To register for the PetSet Youth Club, or for more information about the program, please contact the AHS Education Department at (763) 489-2220.
Our Golden Valley location is running low on shredded paper - perhaps you can help? If you can donate some shredded paper to help keep the animals comfortable, please drop it off at the Incoming Animals entrance of our Golden Valley AHS location. No confetti shred please. Thank you!
Our mission, vision, and values
Mission: To engage the hearts, hands, and minds of the community to help animals.
Vision: To compassionately and responsibly create a more humane world for animals.
Values: Be good to animals. Partner with people. Lead responsibly with compassion.