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Humane Society Launches Membership Drive, Offers Holiday Pet Safety Tips

Dec. 21, 2004 – The Humane Society of St. Thomas announces its end-of-the-year Holiday Appeal to take its membership drive over the 1,000 mark. Randy Knight, Owner of Knight Quality Stations, challenged the Humane Society to grow its membership from 167 in 2002 to 1,000 in 2004 for a $500,000 matching donation. Should the challenge be met, the $500,000 will support the new Animal Care Campus to be located off Weymouth Rhymer Highway across from Marketplace East.
"In what has become the competitive event of the year, we are closely approaching the magic number of 1,000 members; however, we need 100 members to join our cause before the end of the year," Joe Aubain, president of the Humane Society's Board of Directors, said in a release.
Call 775-0599 to join.
Funds raised by the membership drive directly benefit unwanted animals through activities encouraging adoption and education about spaying and neutering animals. Membership also supports the Humane Society's efforts in animal control and cruelty investigations.
"Every membership is crucial to our efforts to take care of animals and work towards a strong animal cruelty law," Joe Elmore, executive director of the Humane Society of St. Thomas, said in the release.
"Although the Animal Cruelty Bill did not become law in the 25th Legislature, we will continue our drive for a better law immediately with the 26th Legislature and Gov. Charles Turnbull in 2005."
"As we get closer to Christmas and New Year's, it is important for those of you traveling to see loved ones not to transport your pet by air unless absolutely necessary," Elmore said. "As always, check with your local veterinarian for guidance about your pet care needs."
According to the Airline Transportation Association, an estimated 5,000 animals are killed, injured or lost during airline travel each year. Consider leaving your pet behind under the care of a pet sitter or boarding kennel. If you must travel by air with your pet, keep the following in mind:
-Not all airlines will carry pets. Call the airline well in advance of your trip to make sure that they accept pets and to check health and immunization requirements for your pet.
-Use direct flights and choose flights that will accommodate temperature extremes. Afternoon flights are better in the winter.
-Never ship pug-nosed animals such as Pekingese, Bulldogs, or Persians in the cargo holds. These breeds have short nasal passages that leave them especially vulnerable to oxygen deprivation and heat stroke. Small animals may be able to travel in the cabin. Check with your airline for their requirements.
-Animals should have proper identification, including a contact phone number for your destination. In addition, carry a photograph of your pet for identification in case you become separated.
For many of us, 'tis the season to decorated our homes with live Christmas trees and holiday greenery. But did you know that some of these yuletide traditions can be hazardous to your pet's health?
-Lovely lilies are commonly used in holiday floral arrangements, but many varieties–including Tiger, Asian, Japanese Show, Stargazer and the Casa Blanca–can cause kidney failure in cats.
-Bag the boughs of holly and live mistletoe. Sure, they add a nice touch to your holiday decor, but holly can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy if ingested by your pet. And should he eat mistletoe, he could suffer gastrointestinal upset and cardiovascular problems. Opt instead for just-as-jolly artificial plants made from silk or plastic.
-Christmas-tree water may contain fertilizers that can cause stomach upset. Stagnant tree water is a breeding ground for bacteria-and your pet could end up with nausea or diarrhea should he imbibe.
-Although the potential toxicity of poinsettias is generally overstated, these showy holiday plants can irritate your pet's mouth, and may cause nausea and/or mild vomiting.
If you suspect that your animal companion has eaten a potentially toxic substance, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center's emergency hotline at 1-888-426-4435 for round-the-clock telephone assistance.

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