While there are more than 150 registered dog breeds with the American Kennel Club, some of those breeds tend to lend themselves to abuse, for whatever reason. Rescue groups in Central New York are looking to change the reputations of abused breeds by helping dogs that have been stereotyped, abandoned or just need a home.
Joanne Parker is a representative of Harbor Hounds Greyhound Rescue & Adoption in Oswego. She works with Gold Coast Greyhound Adoptions in Winter Park, Fla.; Pocono Greyhound Adoption in Canadensis, Pa.; and several greyhound rescue groups around the country to help find homes for these dogs. There is a special need in Florida because of the tradition of greyhound racing in the Sunshine State.
“While many states have outlawed racing greyhounds, for those that haven’t, the dogs are useless after they are no longer fit to run and may be abandoned or put down,” Parker says. “It’s our job to help them find a home.” That’s made a bit easier since greyhounds are very sweet-natured animals. “Meeting these dogs is usually the catalyst for people wanting to adopt one,” Parker says.
The price for adopting a greyhound from Harbor Hounds is $300, which includes spaying or neutering the dog, teeth cleaning, heart worm testing and other procedures.
To help fund the organization, Parker will have a table at the Radisson Community Garage Sale Fundraiser on May 11 and 12 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 8389 Twin Flowers Road, Baldwinsville. “We’re selling everything and anything,” Parker says. The organization is also asking for donations of items for the sale. Last year’s event raised more than $1,300. “We’re hoping to beat that this year,” she says.
She holds monthly meet-and-greets at PetSmart, 3865 Route 31, Liverpool, as well as at Petco, 3150 Erie Blvd. E., DeWitt, and 310 Northern Lights Plaza, North Syracuse, to help people learn about greyhounds and possibly make a donation. The date of the next meet-and-greet has not been set. Check the group’s website for details: hhgreyhoundrescue.org.
Cuse Pit Crew, an advocacy and education group in Syracuse, helps
address the needs of the breed that is likely the most abused anywhere:
the American pit bull terrier. President Stefanie Higgins says the group
works with the Animal Alliance of Greater Syracuse, a non-profit animal
organization, to revitalize the animal and human connection. “We’re
working on offering free training for pit bull owners in Syracuse,”
She stresses that the goal of the training is to find a bond between the dog and the person. Higgins addresses stereotypes associated with the breed, especially those concerning size and stature. People may believe the bigger the dog, the tougher the dog, and the more likely it might be used for the owner’s protection, she says.
“There is a lot of gang and drug association with pit bull breeds,” Higgins says. “If we do training, it’s less likely problems with this will occur because of that human bond.”
Higgins says Cuse Pit Crew is hoping to start the pit bull training within the next three months. In the meantime, the group is helping dogs get to rescue centers when people abandon them. If you’d like to donate to the group’s cause, visit cusepitcrew.org.
President of Recycle-A-Bull Bully Breed Stephanie Ciszewski says she also saw a need to focus on pit bulls in the area. The organization is a foster-based rescue in Clay. Volunteers take dogs into their homes until they can find appropriate owners that will care for them. Providers are asked to work on socialization, training and providing a loving environment. Ciszewski says food and medical care are also provided.
“We have amazing dogs that came from terrible situations,” Ciszewski says. “It’s great to see those happy endings in cases where things had a rough start.” Ciszewski says pit bull adoptions cost $250, including microchips, vaccines and other procedures.
Although the group depends on donations and fundraisers, she says most funds come out of rescue members’ own pockets. The organization hopes to hold a meet-and-greet event the last week of every month, starting in April, at Pet Supplies Plus, 3196 Erie Blvd. E., DeWitt. To find out more about the organization, fostering or adopting a pit bull and future events, contact their website at recycleabull.com.
Some dogs don’t have nearly the infamous reputation suffered by pit bulls. A more preferred dog breed in the United States is the golden retriever, known for its cheerful personality. Unfortunately, that’s not enough for many retriever owners, and for a variety of reasons, they don’t keep them.
Golden Retriever Rescue Operated With Love Statewide-New York, Inc. (GRROWLS) is an organization dedicated to finding suitable homes for golden retrievers that have been abandoned or whose owners could no longer care for them. Martha Greer has been with the organization since 2004, active as a board member and the secretary for the organization.
The owner of two golden retrievers, herself—Murphy and McGinnis—Greer obviously loves the breed. “I knew he was perfect when we brought him home,” Greer says, speaking of her decision to keep Murphy after fostering him. She says Murphy now comes on visits with her to help introduce future dog owners to golden retrievers inside the homes of possible owners.
Golden retrievers adopted from this group vary by price, depending on age. Puppies 3 years and under are $250, dogs 3 to 8 years old cost $200, dogs 8 to 11 are $100, and dogs older than 11 are free. Greer says all shots are included, as well as the spaying and neutering of the dog. To find out more, visit grrowls.org.
Helping Hounds Dog Rescue, based at 6606 Kinne Road, DeWitt, but serving a national need, began in 2009 when seven beagles were saved from death in a Tennessee shelter. Since then, these dogs and hundreds of other four-legged friends have journeyed northward, where they are placed in loving homes.
Puppies are cute, but they eventually grow up. Helping Hounds emphasizes the qualities of older dogs. They are generally housebroken (or at least crate-trained) and, while still full of life, they are less mischievous and better behaved. They are eager to please.
Helping Hounds’ mission is to take unwanted, neglected, abused, stray or homeless dogs and provide them with emotional, medical, behavioral and physical support so they can be adopted into loving permanent homes. Helping Hounds Dog Rescue is dedicated to giving beagles and their hound cousins new beginnings. There is always a need for food and other items for these dogs. To donate, or for more information, visit helpinghoundscny.org or call 510-6618.
As animal abuse continues, it may seem impossible to stop the cruelty. Diligent organizations such as these and others continue to work for the humane treatment of animals when every day they are abused, abandoned and even euthanized. But there is hope: When you help one animal, you are helping get the message out to stop abuse Greer says. “You can’t save every one; you just save the ones you can.”