Adopt a Shelter Dog

There isn’t anything that really compares to having a dog. They’re lovable, loyal, and they’re there to comfort you when you need it most. The ASPCA estimates that there are roughly 70-80 million dogs owned as pets in the United States, which means 37%-47% of all households have at least one dog.

When you get a dog, you make a commitment to care for them for the entirety of their life. It’s your job to love them, protect them, take care of them, and provide them with a forever home where they’re able to be happy and healthy. Unfortunately, many people who own dogs aren’t willing to fully commit to what dog ownership entails. There are a portion of people who decide that they need to get rid of their dog, either because they’re moving, caring for a dog is too difficult for them, or because the dog was a novelty as a puppy but is now grown, and no longer as “fun” as he used to be.

It’s sad and shameful that about 3.9 million dogs are dropped off at shelters each year. What’s worse is that those are the lucky ones; some find themselves abandoned without food and water, or simply dropped on the side of the road. Of the dogs that do make it to a shelter, 1.2 million are euthanized each year.

The good news is this is an epidemic that can be fixed. Educating individuals on spaying or neutering their dogs will go a long way towards preventing a surplus population. But another great option that can help with overpopulation is adopting a shelter pet. And, if you’re more of a cat person, there are plenty of kitties out there looking for a good home. Our adoption tips and resources apply to cats as well as dogs

Reasons to Adopt

There are tons of reasons why adopting a dog from an animal shelter is a great idea. The best reason is: you could save a life. Why support puppy mills or unethically operated pet stores when there are hundreds of thousands of dogs already in need of a loving home? Below are just a few more reasons why a shelter dog could be just what you’re looking for:

  1. It’s a great deal. You make one dog very, very happy, and you get him or her for much cheaper than you would buying a purebred puppy. It’s a win-win.
  2. You never know what you’re going to find. About 25% of shelter dogs are actually purebreds, with the remainder being mixed breeds or mutts. So whether you want a big dog or a small dog, an old dog or a younger pup, you’ll have plenty of options when you adopt from a shelter.
  3. Most shelter dogs are already housetrained. Potty training a puppy can be a little frustrating. If you chose a dog from a shelter, chances are they’ll already be housebroken. No muss, no fuss.
  4. You know your shelter dog will be healthy. Upon being admitted, shelter animals are vaccinated, fixed (if need be), microchipped, and screened for behavioral problems. Because of this, you can be almost certain you’re getting a healthy, happy dog who will fit right in with the family.
  5. It frees up space. As mentioned, there is an overpopulation of unwanted dogs, which leads to overcrowding in shelters and causes the need for euthanization. The more pets that are adopted, the more can be housed. So you actually may be saving two lives instead of just one.
  6. You set an example. People who witness successful adoptions may be that much more likely to give it a shot in the future. With any luck, this simple act of compassion will encourage your neighbors, coworkers, and kids to do the same one day.

Preparing for Adoption

Before you go visiting any shelters, it’s important for you to identify your needs and wants when it comes of pet ownership. Your choice in dogs will depend on several things:

  • Are the residents of your household all adults or are there small children around?
  • Do you have any existing pets?
  • If living in an apartment or renting a home, does your landlord have any pet restrictions or charge a monthly fee for having a dog?
  • Do you have enough space to provide for a larger dog or would a smaller dog be better for your current home?
  • Do you travel much? Will you board your new dog or will they travel with you?
  • Are you looking for a loyal lapdog or a pooch to get outdoors and have adventures with?

Consider these questions and more. Do your research and look up different shelters to ensure you’ve chosen the right one. Come prepared with questions to ask shelter staff. Know that it is important to find the right dog, but you may not find “the one” right away. Adopting takes patience and time, but the results are more rewarding than you can imagine.

The Perfect Match

You may find your perfect pup the first day you start looking, but you may not. Another great aspect of adopting a shelter dog is the ability to spend time with them before you make a decision. You also have the benefit of speaking to the staff who spend every day with these dogs. Staff members know their quirks, their nuances, and are more than happy to chat with you about any animal you are considering.

Additionally, a number of ASPCA shelters offer the help of the Meet Your Match program. This is a personality assessment program that works to evaluate both cats and dogs based on their personality, habits, and preferences. Knowing this helps you to find a dog who jives with your own personality and spirit, ensuring the perfect match. If you’re considering adopting a dog, read more about the Meet Your Match program and ask your local shelter if they participate.

Local Resources for Adopting a Dog

If you’re looking to adopt a pet, checking with your local Humane Society is always a good place to start and a quick internet search can also turn up multiple options. If you live in the Madison, WI area, there are plenty of great organizations that help you adopt dogs. Below are just a few local agencies that rescue dogs and help them find new forever homes:

  • The Wisconsin Humane Society: They rescue dogs and cats, not to mention bunnies, birds, hamsters, and more!
  • Dane County Humane Society: A more localized branch of the Humane Society, the team at Dane County have plenty of animals up for adoption and offer lots of great events to check out.
  • Rescue Me!: This is a local Wisconsin dog rescue. They also offer a service to help you place your own pet up for adoption if circumstances don’t allow you to keep them.
  • Adopt Me: A foster and volunteer based non-profit, Adopt Me even has adoption events every Sunday from 10am-2pm at the West Madison PetSmart.
  • Fetch WI: The folks at fetch can help you adopt, foster, or surrender an animal. They also offer volunteer opportunities!
  • Shelter From the Storm: Aside from your average adoption, here you also have the option to adopt a special needs pet that is older or needs a little more care and attention than some do.

Though the focus of this piece has been on dogs, the idea of adoption is one that applies to just about any pet. Whether you love cats, enjoy the chatter of a bird, or are a fan of bunnies or hamsters, there are hundreds of animals out there in need of a loving home. If you’re looking to add a furry friend to your family, consider adoption before heading to a puppy mill or pet store. Saving a shelter animal will change their life, and it’ll make you feel pretty awesome too!

Tips to Avoid ATV Accidents

We tend to be thrill seekers. Whether that urge is met through skydiving, riding roller coasters, or racing cars, we each have a preferred way to get our adrenaline fixes. Anyone who has ridden one can’t deny that ATV’s can be a lot of fun, but they can also be incredibly dangerous.

All Terrain Vehicles are also sometimes called four-wheelers or quads. They’re meant for use off road, so owners generally tend to live in more rural areas. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with owning or operating a vehicle like an ATV. They’re powerful, fast, and, unfortunately, notoriously unstable. Accidents can happen quickly and with little time to react, so we’ve compiled some tips that can help prevent ATV accidents.

ATV Do’s

Despite their reputation for danger, ATV’s can be safe if operated properly. While driving an ATV, do make sure to control your speed and be aware of your center of gravity. The majority of ATV accidents are caused when they overturn, usually backwards. Excessive speed, especially when combined with a steep slope, is a recipe for disaster.

Weight distribution is a huge factor in determining your four-wheeler’s center of gravity. Passengers are discouraged, as they put more weight on the rear end of the vehicle, making it even more back-heavy and likely to roll over. To optimize safety, do limit your ATV to one rider unless it’s been specifically built for two people. Here are a few more “do’s” of ATV-ing:

  • Do invest in safety gear: Protect your head, always wear a helmet! Gear such as googles, non-skid boots, chest/back armor, and elbow, knee, and wrist pads also have the potential to save you from injury.
  • Do know your limits and the limits of your vehicle: Don’t ever attempt something on an ATV that you’re not comfortable with. Likewise, don’t push your vehicles past it’s abilities, i.e. driving it through very deep water or up a very steep slope.
  • Do inspect your ATV before riding: Make sure all the lights are working, other electronics are operating as expected, and test the brakes.
  • Do check the forecast before you ride: It’s never good to be trapped in the wilderness in inclement weather. If you do get stuck, park the ATV in a safe area and seek shelter nearby.
  • Do take a safety course: Even if you’ve ridden ATV or similar vehicles before, a safety course can help you brush up on your skills and be more prepared in the event of an emergency.
  • Do carry a communication device: Whether that’s a radio or a cell phone, just make sure to have a way to get in touch with civilization in the event someone in your group is injured.
  • Do read the manual: Yes, the manual may not be thrilling reading material but it is extremely helpful in understanding how your vehicle is designed to operate. Knowing your vehicle’s inner workings can only help if you find yourself in a tricky situation.

ATV Don’ts

The biggest “don’t” of quad riding relates to the age of the driver. Many states require that the age of the driver be 16 years or older. In Wisconsin, children 12 years old and up are permitted to drive an ATV after the successful completion of a safety course.

Still, operating an ATV is a big responsibility, one that some 12 year olds may not be ready for, so use your best judgment when allowing a child to drive your ATV. This brings us to our #1 don’t: never allow a child under the legal age limit to drive an ATV. It poses danger to the child, the vehicle, and everyone in the vicinity. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, roughly one third of the 241 ATV fatalities recorded in Wisconsin from 1982-2007 were children under 16.

There are a lot of other “don’ts” when it comes to riding an ATV, including:

  • Don’t tamper with OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts: Unless you’re an experienced ATV technician, it’s better to leave repairs to the experts.
  • Don’t put passengers on a single-rider ATV: As we’ve said several times already, adding a passenger to an ATV that is not built to carry one puts both passenger and driver at increased risk.
  • Don’t take new terrain for granted: If you’re riding in an unfamiliar area, take it easy. You never know when you’re going to come across an obstacle you’re not prepared to handle.
  • Don’t ride on public roads: Only ride on trails where ATV access is clearly designated.
  • Don’t operate a malfunctioning ATV: It’s simply not safe. If your ATV is in poor working condition or in need of repair, take it to a shop before you go out on it again.
  • Don’t drive an ATV while impaired: Never operate an ATV if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It puts your own safety at risk, as well as the safety of innocent bystanders.
  • Don’t do tricks: An ATV is not a dirt bike. They are not light or aerodynamic or balanced. Simply put, they’re not meant for tricks or jumps. Unless you’re already an experienced ATV stuntman, don’t try it.
  • Don’t drive after dark: Even with a headlight, visibility is too low to drive safely at night. You could easily collide with an object or animal that you never saw coming.
  • Don’t go out alone: While you shouldn’t have a passenger on your ATV, you definitely should not be riding alone. Always go out with a companion, or better yet a group, for accountability and safety.

ATV Injuries

Following our tips for ATV-ing can certainly help you prepare for your next ride, but accidents are still going to happen. Injuries sustained from an ATV crash can range from mild to severe, just as with a car accident.

The most important thing to do if you’ve been injured on an ATV is to seek medical attention immediately. Regardless of whether or not you believe the injuries are serious, go to the hospital. You may be in shock and unable to realize the gravity of the situation. Not to mention the fact that certain injuries, including neck and back injuries, can occur with little to no pain at onset but actually be extremely serious/life threatening.

ATV accidents can occur due to:

  • Rollovers
  • Hitting another object
  • The driver being thrown from the vehicle
  • Defective products/parts
  • The negligence of others

The most common ATV injuries are:

If you’ve been injured in an ATV accident that was not your fault, you have to do more than just go to the hospital. It’s crucial that you gather as much evidence as possible. This is your best legal defense if you are denied coverage by your insurance or harmed by the negligence of another person. Immediately after an accident you should:

  • Record accident information: date, time, vehicle serial number, and location.
  • Write down the contact information of those involved.
  • Journal the events from your perspective.
  • Take pictures of the accident scene, vehicles, and injuries from a variety of angles.
  • Get the names and testimonies of any witnesses
  • Seek legal counsel from a Wisconsin personal injury attorney at Boller & Vaughan.

The last thing you need after an accident is to have to worry about fighting insurance companies or chasing the responsible party down for the compensation you deserve. Speak with an attorney ASAP and you stand a better chance of recovering damages for:

  • Current medical expenses
  • Future medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages
  • Property damages
  • Damages for pain and suffering
  • Other expenses related to the crash.

As we’ve mentioned, evidence is key. To give you the best chance of a fair settlement, you need to have ample evidence proving your injuries as well as the negligence of others. Once you’ve gathered everything you can, bring it to us.

The attorneys at Boller & Vaughan have years of experience navigating the successful settlement of complicated personal injury cases. We’ll take care of the details so that you can focus on the most important thing, feeling better and getting your life back on track. Contact us so we can start helping you now. Fill out the contact form on this page or call us at 608-268-0268 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

Premises Liability for Waterfront Homeowners

Wisconsin and waterfront property go hand in hand. Our state has the second largest Great Lakes coastline in the country with nearly 20% of Wisconsin’s geographic area being comprised of waterways. We may not have an ocean nearby, but our extensive network of rivers and lakes are among The Badger State’s greatest claims to fame. Some historians even believe that the name Wisconsin derives from a Native American phrase that translates as “where the waters gather!”

Here in Madison, we’re especially aware of Wisconsin’s waterways. There’s a reason that locals call it “The City of Four Lakes” and that the government’s go-to slogan is “Lake, City, Lake.” Our downtown is situated along an isthmus, sharing coastlines with Lakes Wingra, Kegonsa, Waubesa, Monona, and Mendota.

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4th of July Sparkler Safety Infographic

Sparklers have become a regular part of celebrating the 4th of July, especially for children. Yet, Sparklers are known for causing injuries and can be extremely dangerous. How many times have you heard a parent say, “Don’t play with matches?” Matches can burn up to 500 Fahrenheit, and can cause severe burns or injuries. Sparklers on the other hand, burn almost 4X as hot with the extreme temperature being around 1,500-2,000 Fahrenheit.

4th of July firework safety tips

If you and your family are going to use Sparklers and/or fireworks this year, be sure to follow these basic safety tips!

  • Adults should supervise all firework activities- If you give your children a Sparkler, be sure to keep your children within seeing distance.
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS only!
  • Always have a bucket of water, or a water hose nearby in case of accidents.
  • Do NOT experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • To dispose of used fireworks, wet them down and place them in a metal trash can away from the house and any combustible materials.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
  • Everyone should wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Always light 1 firework at a time, and move away quickly after lit.

2014 Car Fatality Infographic

The greatest cost of car accidents is human lives, and motor vehicle crashes continue to claim an average of more than 35,000 lives each year, according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). That agency also indicates that an additional 2.2 million people are injured in traffic accidents each year, and that these crashes cost nearly $1 trillion annually in injuries, loss of life, and property damage.

(Infographic after jump)

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5 Nursing Home Abuse Horror Stories

Despite increased awareness about nursing home abuse, as well as tougher federal regulations, the abuse and neglect of elderly patients remains a problem at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in Wisconsin and across the country.

In fact, a recent article in USA Today indicates nearly one-third of the nation’s nursing homes received lower ratings on the federal government’s quality scale than they did the previous year. While the report suggests this is due to more stringent standards, it’s clear that there is still work to be done in safeguarding our elderly citizens who rely on the quality care these facilities are supposed to provide.

The Madison attorneys at Boller & Vaughan are dedicated to protecting the rights of nursing home residents. If you suspect a loved one is suffering from neglect or abuse in a nursing home or assisted-care center, please call us at 608-268-0268 for your free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers.

The Sad Consequences of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

A 2013 report from Milwaukee’s Fox6 News focused on two Wisconsin nursing homes found to have consistently violated state and federal regulations regarding the care of elderly patients. One of the cases cited in the report became the subject of a high-profile wrongful death lawsuit and led to testimony before the Wisconsin Senate. Continue reading

Everything You Need To Know About Brain Injuries

The Madison injury attorneys at Boller & Vaughan understand the life-changing physical, financial and emotional challenges faced by brain injury victims and their family members.

If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury due to another’s negligence, please call 608-268-0268 to arrange your free consultation. Our skilled lawyers are dedicated to helping injury victims pursue the financial security they need in order to recover medically and move forward with their lives.

Defining Brain Injuries

Brain injuries are most often the result of a traumatic force that jars the brain, such as the impact of a motor vehicle accident. But brain injuries can also be caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain, which may occur during a stroke or other medical emergency that disrupts blood flow to the brain. Continue reading

$3.5 Million for Victim of Neglect

Recently, the Wisconsin personal injury law firm of Boller & Vaughan, LLC successfully closed one of the most heart-wrenching assisted living cases they have encountered.

Joshua Wahl, a charming 34 year-old man born with a number of physical and developmental disabilities, was a resident at Aurora Residential Alternatives (ARA), a Menomonie, Wisconsin community-based residential facility for individuals with disabilities, chronic mental illness and traumatic brain injuries. Joshua was born with spina bifida, moderate intellectual disability, was paralyzed from the chest down, and wheelchair bound. He was totally dependent on Aurora staff for all activities of his daily living. Continue reading

Why Would I Need An Auto Injury Attorney?

Being in a car accident or suffering any auto injuries is incredibly stressful.  Not only do you need to deal with who or what is at fault, you may be physically injured and have major medical bills, or even have to repair or replace your vehicle. At times like this, it may be too overwhelming to consider consulting with an attorney. Yet, this is really the right time to check in with an auto injury attorney.

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Steps To Stop Nursing Home Abuse

Finding the right care facility or nursing home for your loved ones can seem like looking for the proverbial ‘needle in a haystack.’ Once you’ve found the right facility, it is horrifying to think that nursing home abuse of any kind is occurring and that your loved one is unsafe. Unfortunately, though, nursing home abuse can occur. Continue reading

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