DEAR JOAN: I try to clean my concrete birdbath daily, using a stiff brush. Others have told me to add some bleach, but I'm wary of harming my birds. What do you suggest?

Sue Holt

Santa Cruz

DEAR SUE: I think your daily cleaning is more than sufficient, but should you want to use bleach, it's OK to use a very mild solution, one part bleach to 20 parts water. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly.

DEAR JOAN: I have a neighbor who has an older Chihuahua. He has such long nails he can't even walk. They are growing sideways.

I told her she needs to have them cut. He's in pain. She pooh-poohed it and won't even think about having it done.

A clean birdbath is a happy, healthy place.
A clean birdbath is a happy, healthy place. ( Rich Cordes )

I feel so sorry for the little guy. He looks miserable. I don't like bossing the neighbors around but sometimes I think they have no brains. I am part of Neighborhood Watch so I feel like I have some say in the neighborhood. What should I do about it?

Joyce Alameda

Fremont

DEAR JOYCE: I don't know of any dog that doesn't need a nail-trim now and then. I'm guessing your neighbor isn't taking the dog in to the veterinarian for regular checkups and shots, or the vet would make sure that the nails were trimmed.

It is a form of abuse, and you'd be within your rights to report her to your animal control department, not because you are a member of the Neighborhood Watch, but because you are a concerned person. It's easier to overlook such things in the attempt to keep peace with the neighbors, but we have to think of the pets and what they are going through.

I'd try one last time to get through to her. Perhaps, if you can afford it, you could give her a gift certificate to Petsmart or some other place where they do grooming. If she still doesn't take him in, I'd report her.

Winter adoptathon

The Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority invites the community to come to its annual winter adoptathon, "Walking in a Whisker Wonderland," 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, at the Animal Care Center, 3370 Thomas Road, Santa Clara.

The event features "pay what you want" adoption fees.

"This event always leads to a host of animals finding new homes," says Michael Limper, shelter manager, "plus it kicks off the holiday season. The adoptathon is geared toward folks who are looking for a way to add a new companion animal to their family as well as for those who are looking to get into the holiday spirit."

The Friends of SVACA also will offer pet photos with Santa for a requested donation of $10.

The adoptathon will have plenty of dogs, cats, kittens and rabbits, all looking for forever homes. For more information go to www.svaca.com or call 408-764-0344.

The Animal Control Authority provides animal care and control services to Campbell, Monte Sereno, Mountain View and Santa Clara, but adoption services and volunteer opportunities are open to all.

Nematodes

I've been recommending these near-microscopic creatures for grub control in lawns. It's starting to get a little late in the year, but you can still apply the nematodes and be ahead for the spring.

Contact Joan Morris at jmorris@bayareanewsgroup.com or 1700 Cavallo Road, Antioch, CA 94509. Follow her at Twitter.com/AskJoanMorris.