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posted February 8th, 2017 by
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Kirkpatrick Foundation Renounces USDA Action that Removes All Animal Welfare Protection Data

Animal experts, advocates, and researchers underscore the need for continuing the USDA’s decades-long transparency.


Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that inspection reports, annual reports, and other information on facilities holding animals protected under the Animal Welfare Act and the Horse Protection Act will no longer be available through searches of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) online database. These files have been available for easy and ready research for decades until last Friday’s swift action to hide them.

Kirkpatrick Foundation strongly repudiates this action and urges the USDA to return all data to online access, believing animal welfare reports on the USDA’s online database are essential to maintaining transparency in the interest of animal welfare. The foundation is concerned that the USDA will issue further orders to remove data on the humane handling of livestock compliance and enforcement actions and food safety violations.

This action essentially eliminates the public’s ability to know what is occurring in nearly 9,000 facilities across the U.S. including animal breeders, dealers, exhibitors, transporters, and taxpayer-funded animal research facilities. These reports will now be accessible only through Freedom of Information Act requests, which can take years for approval.

In Oklahoma, more than 260 facilities and individuals have licenses or registrations under the Animal Welfare Act including dog and cat breeders, zoos, exotic animal parks, and research institutions. Information obtained through searches of APHIS’s online database was an essential component of research gathered for The Oklahoma Animal Study, published by Kirkpatrick Foundation in 2016. Principal Investigator Kristy Wicker says that there would have been no way to determine the number, location, and status of animals located in the state or even fact-check information without access to the database.

Louisa McCune, editor of the report and executive director of Kirkpatrick Foundation, concurs. “The Oklahoma Animal Study is a landmark report on the condition of Oklahoma animals that would have been impossible to achieve given this new action by the USDA. Anti-humane corporate interests who wish to shield information about these practices are undoubtedly behind this government action.”

Adds Wicker, “This information is vital to understanding the welfare of animals in our state. Without it we would have no way to respond quickly and effectively to reports of animal abuse such as those that came to light in recent years at Oklahoma research labs and roadside zoos. The public cares about these issues, but without ready access to this information, there is little accountability and much would go undetected.”

Kirkpatrick Foundation program associate Manda Shank, co-author of The Oklahoma Animal Study, attended the Animal Welfare Act at 50 Conference at Harvard University two months ago in December 2016. The federal law, signed by Lyndon Johnson in 1966, is the only law that regulates the treatment of animals in research and exhibition. “Friday’s action contradicts the spirit of the Animal Welfare Act,” she says. “ The AWA is designed to protect animals and this shadowing of data does just the opposite.”

The foundation echoes the statement of National Geographic: “These records have revealed many cases of abuse and mistreatment of animals, incidents that, if the reports had not been publicly posted, would likely have remained hidden. This action plunges journalists, animal welfare organizations, and the public at large into the dark about animal welfare at facilities across the country. The records document violations of the Animal Welfare Act, the federal law that regulates treatment of animals used for research and exhibition. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which has maintained the online database, cites privacy concerns as justification for the removal. Critics question that reasoning. The agency has long redacted sensitive information from these records, and commercial facilities do not necessarily have the same right to privacy as private individuals.”


You can access a PDF of the 2.8.17 press release, here. Also please visit our Kirkpatrick Foundation’s webpage for more information about Safe & Humane and he Oklahoma Animal Study.

Program Associate Manda Shank can be reached by calling (405) 608-0934 or email [email protected]

A New Year

posted January 25th, 2017 by
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Looking Back

A New Year – A New Home –A New Job

A New YearLate last year, when they were calling me “Sasha,” I went to live with Gail for a few months.   She was my foster Mom while I had the treatment for heart-worms.  I knew I was a lucky girl, so I did everything she asked of me.  What she didn’t know is that I really wanted to just be her “girl.”

Four months later, my treatment is through, she’s decided she really wants to call me Sugar and yes she’s realized I need to be the newest member of her family.  Gail has had lots of medical challenges and I learned that the most important thing I could do was sit quietly beside her in her recliner so she would know she wasn’t alone.  It worked – it really worked.  She’s all better now and I’m an important person in her life.

Gail has a giving heart so she decided to visit people who were in hospice care.  One day I learned a gentleman, who’d seen my picture, wanted to pet me.  So, Gail took me to meet him.  I knew I had to be on my best behavior with all the people, the staff and any other four-legged friend I might meet.  I passed the test and spent 45 minutes with the gentleman so he could gently stroke my coat and I could give him comfort.

So now Gail and I are frequent visitors. We know we’re spreading happiness and giving people a chance to enjoy my company.  Yes, this is our picture. 


posted January 23rd, 2017 by
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Grooming isn’t just about your dog looking good.  It plays a much more important roll.

Brushing is only the beginning to a good grooming routine.  But it’s a great place to start.  Brushing not only rids your pet of dead hair, dirt and dandruff, but it also helps to bring out the oils in your dog’s coat.  Spreading the oils helps your dog’s coat remain shiny and healthy.

Taking the time to brush your dog gives you a great opportunity to bond with them and show them you love them.  Making a point to spend time with your dog builds your relationship and increases happiness for both you and your pet.

Grooming is also a good opportunity to look your dog over and check for any problems.  Looking at ears, teeth, paws, etc will allow you to get help earlier and head off potential problems before they become emergencies.

Add teeth brushing, ear cleaning and nail trims to your grooming routine to improve the health of your pet.  The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body.  Keeping a pet’s teeth clean helps to keep the entire pet healthy.  Trimming nails will ensure the nail doesn’t grow into the paw pad causing pain for your pet.  Excessively long nails can make walking painful and distort the structure of the toes.  Keeping your pet’s ears clean keeps yeast and bacteria from causing bigger problems and keeps them feeling fresh and clean.

The cleaner your pet is, the healthier they are!  Happy Grooming!

To All the Pets I’ve Loved Before

posted January 18th, 2017 by
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Nicole Castillo

Valentines Day is a little less than a month away and love is in the air.

As a writer, I like to tell and hear stories of love. The heart always makes for a wonderful tale. Right now I am reminiscing the furry kind of love. As a pet lover, coming from a family of pet lovers, many a paw has crossed my path, and left its imprint on my heart.To all the pets

There was Ginger, my first dog. She has a bouncy chow mix puppy handed to me through the door of an old two-story house in an old neighborhood in Waco, Texas. I was eleven and found the ad for free puppies in the Thrifty Nickel. It was night and my dad accompanied me to the doorstep of the dark house. No words were spoken. I rang the bell, a man came to the door and shoved this little ball of sandy fur into my arms. I turned to my dad, and he asked. “Do you want it?” I looked at the bright blue eyes and there was no thinking about it. I turned to thank the man at the door, but it was already closed. My mom got a black kitten that night from the basement of another strange house. She named him Ebony. And so began the chapter of Ginger and Ebony in my life.

We had had cats before, a large ginger cat deemed Curio slept under my crib when I was a baby, but I don’t remember him well. Ginger and Ebony were the animals of my childhood. I loved those rascals. Ginger was smart and protective. Ebony was calm and gentle. We traveled back and forth to Indiana a lot to see my moms’ family, and I crocheted them leashes and harnesses. People at rest areas and truck stops would watch the fluffy chow and pudgy black cat walk side by side around the parking lot. They were a fine team.

To all the petsWhen I was around 15, my dad brought home a black lab mix puppy. We named her Rachel and she was one of the most obedient dogs I have come across. Well, most obedient to my dad! I was in school and he was home and Rachel was in love with him! She would ignore me and listen only to him. We lived in tropical south Texas then, and had problems with rats out in the country. He would point to a box in the garage and tell her to “get it” and she would dive into the box, snatch the rat, and bring it to him. Crazy. She also loved jumping in and out of the driver side window of his pickup truck. I remember the day she leaped out at a busy four way stop turned around and leaped back in. I almost had a heart attack and my dad just laughed and laughed.

When my husband, Carlos, and I were newly married, we adopted a tiny golden retriever puppy and named her Zaboo. We loved her to pieces. She was a precious little soul. When she was young, she had a mean bout of Ehrlichia and almost passed away. We sat on the bed with her, crying over our sick pup. We feed her chicken and rice, gave her meds, and nursed her back to health on that bed. We read whole books to each other, chapter by chapter, with her in the middle of us. She got better and returned to the darling puppy she was, and we breathed a sigh of relief. Zaboo was our first fur baby together.

To all the petsCheyanne was our second dog together, and lo and behold, she is still with us, 16 years later. Cheyanne is a border collie mix. I adopted her from the Harlingen Humane Society in Harlingen, Texas. She was with a litter of shiny black lab pups. A feisty fluffy ball of fur. That night, we put her in a crate with blankets and toys and turned off the light. It was then that we learned this little creature’s cry sounded like a baby screaming. It was so disturbing! That is when I learned to put the puppy in a box by my side of the bed, and hang my hand over into the box so we all could sleep. Each puppy we’ve brought home after that has been raised the same way. Cheyanne is the most clever dog I have ever known. She was so very alert when she was young. Bright eyes, bushy tail, ears up. She has had many adventures. She’s swam in the ocean, sailed Lake Washington, trotted through Las Vegas, and herded children, puppies, and an ornery goat when we needed her to. She was with me the day I got the call my mother had passed away, and supplied us with comfort the months that followed. Now, she has arthritis, a heart murmur, and is going deaf, but she still brings us joy each day. She mumbles all the time. I think it is because she can’t hear herself anymore. It’s a bit annoying, but mostly funny. In her twilight years, she has taught us patience. To be still and pay attention. To treasure the moments with this little one who has seen us through many phases in life.

All of these are love stories. Some of these pets have passed on, but the memories are there, welling up inside with a bittersweetness. I wouldn’t trade any of the paw prints on my heart for anything. I will leave the tail of my two cats, Kitty and Tim, for next time.

These are not all the pets that have called me family. To go into the complete chronicles of all the animals I have adored would take much more than a blog. And I would need to add fish, chicken, and guinea pig chapters.

To all the petsAll animal people have their love stories and I would love to hear yours. I will be sharing your tales for the next few blogs before Valentine’s Day. Please share in the comments here, or this post on Facebook, or you may email me at [email protected].

Second Chances

posted December 31st, 2016 by
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Looking Back

Second Chances

We all get second chances and, most of the time, we learn the lesson and try to not get caught again or, best case scenario – we don’t do it again.

First hand, I’ve seen the benefit of second chances for both homeless dogs and inmates.  Sarge, the grouchy/growly schnauzer got a second chance training with Mr. Miller in the prison program at Lexington.  Today, Sarge reigns supreme at the Norman Veteran’s Center – he greets you at the door, rides the elevator and visits with everyone.

On Monday, the 19th, I had the privilege of watching inmates from NOCC work hard, help dogs and puppies coming into PAAS headed to Colorado, and see the smiles on the inmate faces and the happy/wagging tails of the dogs as they were unloaded from partner rescues.

We certainly appreciated all the help and the dogs most assuredly loved the attention.

Looking back at 2016, PAAS has transported 1100+ dogs to our partner – Denver Dumb Friends League.  In addition, we’ve implemented a Trap/Neuter/Release of feral cats, worked with law enforcement and other rescues to save abused/neglected dogs and started an effective low-cost, income verified, program for unaltered pets.

Along with our training program at the Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center, we’re making a difference.

We’re a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization.  Donations are tax-deductible, appreciated and play a key role in our continuing work to save thousands of homeless dogs and cats who have no voice.

New Year’s Resolutions from Your Pet

posted December 31st, 2016 by
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Nicole Castillo

This is it! The last day of 2016.

Time for New Year’s Resolutions!


What have you resolved to do, or not do, for 2017?

Have you wondered what your pet’s New Year’s resolution would be?

I asked a few of my favorite furry pals to give us an insight.



 “Well, as you may know, I have a new furry little brother, The General, so I resolve to hiss a little less and purr a little more around him.”  -Sauerkraut


 “I resolve to cut back on my infamous sneak attacks. Maybe..”  -The General


  “I will catch the red dot this year.”   -Cheyanne


“Take more naps.”    -Tim


“I would like to start knocking things off tables and shelves. My parents laugh so hard when they see this online.”    -Kitty


 “I will try to stop giving mom the stink eye when I want a cookie!”   -Elmer


“Convince Mom and Dad to keep my food bowl full all day, turn all black clothes into white clothes, sleep on Mom’s head every night.”   -Lillian


“Patrol and keep safe my kingdom, learn to kill birds and squirrels through a window, run at least 2,000 miles around the house.”    -Harlow


“Convince Mom to quit her job so she can stay home and cuddle me constantly.”    -Ely

“Eat my new cat tower, head bump with less force, sleep on Mom’s pillow every night.” -Etsel


  “Eat more Beggin’ Strips, learn to dodge my brother Sparrow’s tail better.”    -Faith


“Learn to control my wild tail, learn to be sneakier when I try to kiss the kitties, snort less when I eat.”     -Sparrow


 “Get more bites of food off of Mom and Dad’s plates when they aren’t looking. Eat alllllll the wet food.”   -Valentine


“My resolution is to have more bones and belly rubs!”   -Rufus


“I resolve to pee outside…exclusively. Peeing inside seems to upset the humans, especially the adult female.”



“My mom doesn’t think I’m very smart, she still loves me but I may be missing something upstairs, so I’m thinking about getting my GED instead of attending class all the time. Aren’t I cute?”  -Doug


 “I have new arthritus medication, so my New Year’s resolution is to walk three times a week until I can walk two miles with Mom.”  -GiGi


“My resolution is to be more consistent with waking up my parents by four a.m, and to get at least 18 hours of sleep a day.”



“To read more non-fiction.”     -Pam


“To sleep in less and see more sunrises.”     -Nora

Happy New Year, my sweet pet lovers! May 2017 be filled with tail wags, head bumps, and a healthy layer of fur all over your house.