The 30 dogs brought through Mahoning Valley Animal Hospital over the past month are just a small representation of the animals abandoned by Pennsylvania's commercial puppy mills. Dog law officers estimate that hundreds of dogs have been abandoned, with more yet to come.
In response to this influx of dogs, nationally-recognized animal behavioral specialist Susan Bulanda will offer a free seminar for people involved in the fostering, adoption and rehabilitation of these animals.
It takes a patient and understanding person to adopt an abandoned puppy mill dog. These dogs often spend their entire life confined to a crate and have little interaction with humans. As a result, these animals will present unique behavioral challenges during rehabilitation.
"This could be very important for anyone who wants to adopt or foster these dogs," said Dr. Mary Lombardo, the veterinarian at Mahoning Valley Animal Hospital.
The seminar will cover the behavioral aspects of rehabilitation, with an emphasis on the needs of dogs raised in commercial breeding environments. Both Lombardo and Bulanda note that rehabilitation will play an important role in successfully adopting these animals.
"It's one thing to vet them, but we have to rehabilitate them," said Bulanda. "I want to address these issues. It's the best way that I can help the problem."
Bulanda, who lives in Jim Thorpe, will also offer individual sessions at a reduced rate for adoptive families. Team members from her Canine Training and Management program will also offer their services at a reduced rate.
"I've been doing this for a long time on an individual basis," she added. "I want to reach a lot of people, and the word is spreading. This program will be good for a lot of people."
The seminar will take place on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 1 p.m. at Kutztown University's Center for Lifelong Learning in Tek Park, 9999 Hamilton Blvd., Breiningsville.
For more information, contact Linda Friscia-Oppe, the Center of Lifelong Learning at Kutztown University, at (610) 683-1382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.