By Janice Eck
(Victor Valley)– America’s Family Pet Expo being held at the Orange County Fair and Event Center from April 10-12 is a prominent event in the pet world. Thousands of animals will give visitors an opportunity to get up close and personal with them all in the name of education to promote a lifelong family for the pet. Vendors from the High Desert like Alleys Rescued Angels, California Greyhound Adoption Promotion, Beagles & Buddies, and Forever Wild to name a few, will seize the moment to inform pet owners of the do’s and don’ts of pet ownership.
Alleys Rescued Angels, a Siberian Husky rescue located in Apple Valley, uses the Pet Expo as their only event. As a breed-specific rescue, Alleys sees the detriment affects of uneducated pet owners, as Alley Ramirez, Founder, shared with High Desert Daily, “Siberian Huskies are not for the first-time dog owner and that’s a big problem because they’re so beautiful. People get them as little puppies and they’re so cute and look like little wolves and then they grow up and start acting like one – jumping fences, digging huge holes, attacking cats, goats, chickens, and Chihuahuas.”
Ramirez will also be using the Pet Expo to inform pet owners of how important spaying and neutering is; something she feels is especially out of control in the High Desert. Within a two-week span, Alleys rescued 3 pregnant Huskies and now there are another 20 puppies that will be needing homes in addition to all the dogs already at the rescue. If any of the three dogs were spayed, there wouldn’t be another 20 that need homes.
Spaying and neutering is definitely an issue all over the country and the world, but there are some breeds that do not have an overbreeding problem, such as Greyhounds. The California Greyhound Adoption Promotion (CALGAP), located in Phelan, focuses on promoting retired Greyhounds, which are bred strictly for racing; therefore are not inbred nor are they bred by unauthorized breeders. Sharyn Deeringer, President of CALGAP told High Desert Daily, “The racing industry keeps a close tab to what happens to Greyhounds. They’re not interbred and a breeder has to get permission from the National Greyhound Association if they even want to register the dog to race. They’re not puppy milling these dogs. They’re not inbreeding them. They want to make sure they’re bred for speed and health.”
How is the Greyhound breed kept under control? If someone owns a Greyhound, it’s because they are in the racing industry or the Greyhound was adopted. Adopted Greyhounds are always spayed or neutered, which keeps them out of backyard breeding.
Beagles and Buddies (B&B), located in Apple Valley , have been going to the Pet Expo for over 20 years. Over their 25 years in existence, the agency has rescued and rehabilitated over 17,000 dogs. Rehabilitating may not be the last step for dogs rescued by B&B. They are already connected to 3 different agencies where disabled individuals go to the sanctuary 5 days a week to socialize, play and interact with various dogs of the rescue; however, there are further plans to have their rescue dogs rescue owners through the Dogs Help Heal Program. Working with one of their previous adopters who trained her B&B dog to be her own service dog, she will be instructing staff and volunteers how to train service dogs for seniors, veterans, disabled, depressed, and others in need of a good service dog. Amazingly, B&B will be the first rescue in Southern California to adopt out trained service dogs. Connie Kramer, Executive Director, discusses in detail, “We have testing procedures and techniques to assess which dog would be good for what type of service and therapy then work with them. As people with those needs come in, we’ll match them up and continue the training with the adopters included.”
The Pet Expo promotes the well-being of everyday pets, but vendors like Forever Wild in Phelan, rescue wild and exotic animals. Many people don’t realize the need for this type of rescue, but there are so many illegally kept animals that are confiscated or surrendered and would not be able to survive out in the wild. Forever Wild helps visitors understand that not all animals are suitable as pets. A tiger, jaguar, caiman, or any of the other ambassador animals of Forever Wild is a common sight at their Pet Expo booth, but their goal is not to entice people into having these animals, Chemaine Almquist, co-founder of Forever Wild told High Desert Daily, “We bring an illegal or exotic animal there to show people, not to get people to want to go out and buy them, but they can stop and talk to us and find out why we do what we do and why there’s a need for places like us.”
Most of the animals in the care of Forever Wild were obtained through drug busts or confiscated from someone who had the animal legally in a different state then moved to California where they’re illegal or from someone who purchased the animal through the black market. Whatever the case may be, there is a need to educate the public that exotic animals (including lizards, parrots, snakes, etc) need to be thoroughly researched before a person takes on the obligation to care for the life of an animal, Almquist adds, “If they don’t do the proper research on an animal, they don’t realize they’re actually hurting the animal when not providing the right diet, housing, or enrichment for them. There are multiple things an animal needs even when it’s legal.”
If you happen to be at America ‘s Family Pet Expo, be sure to stop by and show your support from the High Desert . They’ll appreciate it more than you know. Not going to the Pet Expo? Check out their websites:
Alleys Rescued Angels: http://alleysrescuedangels.org/
California Greyhound Adoption Promotion: http://www.calgap.org/
Beagles and Buddies: http://beaglesandbuddies.com/
Forever Wild: http://foreverwildexotics.org/
Pet Expo tickets can be purchased online before April 10 or at the door April 10-12. General Admission is $13, Seniors 60 & over is $11. Children 6-12 are $8. Children 5 & under are free as well as Active and Retired Military with ID. Parking is $7. Show hours are Friday 10am-6pm; Saturday 10am-7pm; Sunday 10am-6pm. The OC Fair and Event Center is located at 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa . Kindly leave pets at home. For more information, visit http://www.petexpooc.org/.