AWSOM Action Alert - Hurricane Sandy
Stroudsburg, PA – The Animal Welfare Society of Monroe (AWSOM) has an
Animal shelter feeds off restaurant fundraiser
By SHARON ROTHMAN
For the Pocono Record
February 16, 2012
Animal Welfare Society of Monroe held its second annual champagne brunch and jewelry sale at the Big A Italian and American Grillehouse and Tavern on Route 209 in Marshalls Creek on Feb. 5. The fundraiser featured donated and gently used high-end handbags, jewelry and other fashion accessories. All proceeds went to Monroe County's only animal shelter.
Pat Hammond, AWSOM supporter, event organizer and cat lover said this year's donations surpassed expectations. Donations of designer handbags included Coach, Louis Vuitton, Bottega, as well as diamonds and 14-carat jewelry. Hammond added, "Last year we raised over three thousand dollars and I believed that number will be exceed and may have doubled this year."
Carol McFerren, shopping with friends at the brunch for the second year, said, "We just love animals and support A.W.S.O.M. which makes the purchases easier, since it's for such a great cause." All customers visiting the restaurant were encouraged to take part in the jewelry sale, even if they didn't attend the fundraising brunch.
Big A General Manager Tabitha Romanowski said, "It was easily over 150 people in attendance. It was definitely a bigger turnout than last year."
Romanowski explained that the fundraising champagne brunch feature was just an extension of their regular Sunday spread that has all you can eat from five breakfast items, five lunch items, made-to-order omelets, beverage and bottomless champagne. She said, "We do this every Sunday, the only difference is today we are donating 50 percent of the proceeds to A.W.S.O.M."
Big A owner Bruce Brandli was cooking at the omelet station and said, "My wife, Marianne, is an animal lover and wanted to support the shelter. She first approached them last year and it seems it's turned into a yearly event." Brandli continued his support by donating some of his wildlife nature photography to the sale and said, "I think I will keep some of my photos on display year round and have them for sale to bring awareness to A.W.S.O.M. and raise more funds."
Monroe County Commissioner Suzanne F. McCool, who numbered among the supporters in attendance, shared her happiness for the success of the nonprofit. "A.W.S.O.M. is just a testament of how people can come and work together," McCool said. She said she endorsed the idea for opening a no-kill shelter to open after the local SPCA chapter closed its facility and was joined by state representatives Mario Scavello and Mike Carroll as well as many other local officials. "They (A.W.S.O.M.) are now a respected animal rescue and it's due to the community's support and volunteers' hard work."
A.W.S.O.M.'s handout states "Seven days a week the shelter's staff and volunteers work their tails off to make the shelter a paw-sitive for every animal that passes through the door, but we need your help. Donations of dog and cat foods, kitty litter and cleaning supplies are always needed."
Several more benefits are planned for the upcoming months, the next one an All-You-Can-Eat Italian Buffet at Alaska Pete's on March 11.
There is a Pawsitive People Awards Dinner at Stroudsmoor Inn in Stroudsburg on April 12, followed by a Wag and Walk Fun Raising Trek on May 6 and an Animal Vendor Fest and Frolic on June 24.
Visit awsomanimals.org to learn more about A.W.S.O.M, volunteering, donating, or supporting one of their events or call the shelter at 570-421-DOGS.
In Pocono animal shelters, pit bulls are in the dog house
By Andrew Scott
Pocono Record Writer
December 28, 2011
Owners unwilling or unable to get their pets spayed or neutered cause unwanted dogs and cats to overpopulate shelters, say those who work with animals.
And in kill shelters, those animals deemed too ill or dangerous to adopt are euthanized to make room for others.
Pit bulls, in particular, make up a large percentage of dogs in many shelters.
"We have about 130 dogs, and about half of them are pit bulls," said Erica Budzinski at the Griffin Pond Animal Shelter in South Abington Township.
No-kill shelters, like the Animal Welfare Society of Monroe shelter in Stroud Township, try to regulate the breeds and sizes of animals to ensure diversity.
The AWSOM shelter has 18 dog cages and tries to maintain certain numbers of large, medium and small dogs of various breeds so that not all 18 cages are filled with just one breed or size, AWSOM Vice President Marie Grimm said.
"As a result, we don't always have mostly pit bulls like some other shelters do, but there have been times when at least half were pit bulls," Grimm said.
Many pit bulls being bred for fighting and aggression, plus the resulting negative publicity, have stigmatized the breed to the point where most people unfairly characterize them as vicious when they're really rarely aggressive by nature, said Molly Rouse, director of Dog Training Unlimited in Lehighton.
That's why people tend to avoid adopting pit bulls from shelters.
"They don't see pit bulls as family pets," Budzinski said. "We have one who's great with other dogs as well as cats and children, but no one wants to adopt him because he's a pit bull."
Rouse said pit bulls by nature are very agreeable but "extremely puppylike and excitable," which some people might mistake for aggression.
"The prejudice against them is largely unfounded," she said. "The problem is how some people breed and train these dogs."
"Most people don't realize how many unwanted animals are put to sleep, especially pit bulls since they're so stigmatized," clinic veterinarian Dr. Kim Mah said.
But clinic Director Barbara Loch is concerned the importance of spaying/neutering is a message lost on those who breed animals, especially pit bulls, for profit.
"I saw how pervasive underground dog fighting is in the Easton, Allentown and Bethlehem areas when I was with the Center for Animal Health and Welfare in Easton before coming here to the clinic," she said. "I doubt people who breed and own animals for fighting are going to get them spayed and neutered. These animals are then abandoned or they're found running loose and they get dumped at shelters, but by then they're too wild and unmanageable."
Dog Training Unlimited offers tips for those considering getting pets.
"It's important for people to realize, though, that there are different types of training," Rouse said. "There's training to socialize dogs to be around people and other animals, and there's training to get them to listen and obey commands. It's not all the same."
Pocono animal advocates urge caution before giving pets as presents
By Andrew Scott
Pocono Record Writer
December 20, 2011
Christmas is supposed to be a time of human warmth and kindness.
And what gift better embodies that spirit than a cute, cuddly puppy?
Pet stores report selling more puppies during the holiday season than at any other time of the year.
"People want to get puppies as gifts to surprise their families or friends," said Brittany Malinoski at Yuppy Puppy in Bartonsville. "That's why business here is usually pretty good around this time of year."
But animal rights activists, dog clubs and others are urging shoppers to resist the urge and to wait until after the holidays.
"Children will be excited about the holidays and especially about receiving a puppy. They will play with, and make a big fuss over, the bewildered and scared dog," Pocono Mt. Kennel Club said in an ad. "After a while they will turn to other presents or guests, leaving the tired puppy unsupervised."
The club urges shoppers to get a puppy voucher as a gift and to bring home a puppy when the holidays are over.
It will provide a quieter time for the puppy to get settled, and "a well-adjusted puppy will be your reward," the club said.
Fighting puppy mills
The New York City-based American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and other animal rights groups are asking the public to help fight puppy mills by boycotting pet stores selling puppies, said Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA's anti-puppy mills campaign.
"We are not just saying, 'Don't buy a puppy,' but, 'Don't buy anything in a pet store that sells puppies,'" Menkin said. "We're asking people to adopt from shelters or buy or adopt from reputable dog breeders rather than buy from pet stores."
A truly reputable breeder would want to deal with people directly, face to face, not sell to pet stores that then sell to people, ASPCA spokeswoman Rebecca Goldrick said.
Malinoski said Yuppy Puppy gets its puppies from reputable breeders advertising online.
"Our puppies don't come from mills," she said.
But, how are customers supposed to know? Malinoski said the Monroe County dog warden periodically inspects the store's puppies to ensure there are none of the common signs of abuse associated with mills.
The nonprofit Animal Welfare Society of Monroe's Stroud Township shelter takes in abandoned dogs and cats and tries to adopt those animals to people and families looking for pets.
"About 50 percent of the people who come to the shelter specifically ask for puppies," AWSOM Vice President Marie Grimm said.
"We also sometimes take our animals to area pet supply stores we partner with, like PetSmart and Pets Plus, to have people adopt the animals there. We hope a good portion of the public will visit the shelter to 'adopt instead of shop,' as there are so many pets worthy of the companionship that people want."
The AWSOM shelter has its animals spayed, neutered, microchipped, de-flead and vaccinated prior to making the animals available for adoption.
"AWSOM is also doing a Home for the Holidays program where people can take a shelter animal home for Christmas," she said. "This provides the animals an opportunity to get out of the shelter and into a home for a few days."
For information on this program, go to www.awsomanimals.org.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Shelter fire leaves animals without heat
Penny Elms, Dog News Examiner (www.examiner.com) - December 3, 2011
Stroudsburg, PA - The AWSOM animal shelter operates out of a 43 year old building. Time has taken its toll on the structure and the systems which make operations possible.
This morning, one crucial component failed - the heat system went up in flames.
Thankfully, staff and volunteers were on hand to put the fire out and salvage the building - most importantly, no lives were lost.
But now there is nothing left to heat half of the building - nothing to keep the animals inside warm.
Unfortunately, temperatures are expected to plummet into the 20's during the night hours next week...without a source of heat, the animals will be left in misery.
The price tag for a new heat pump is formidable - estimates put the cost at a staggering $15,000.
The shelter does not have the funds to purchase what they so desperately need to keep the animals in their care warm - they are reaching out for donations.
Alternately, the donation of a heat pump would be a priceless gift.
You can help ease the burden that this facility is facing. Donations towards a new source of heat can be made directly to AWSOM, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.
If you are unable to donate, please help by sharing this story with others who may be able to. Thank you.
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