- 1. Protect Your Pet from a Memorial Day Party Foul
- 2. Gulf Coast Animal Responders Receive $15,000 Grant from ASPCA
- 3. USDA Fails to Protect Puppy Mill Dogs
- 4. ASPCA Offers to Find Homes for Evicted Carriage Horses
- 5. ASPCA Happy Tails: Mountain High
1. Protect Your Pet from a Memorial Day Party Foul
As the country dons its shorts and sunhats this Memorial Day weekend, nothing says “unofficial” start of summer like a good old-fashioned barbecue or outdoor picnic. But what’s festive for us can be downright dangerous for our furry friends.
Even if your pooch is a pro picnicker, the ASPCA recommends keeping him indoors as much as possible during backyard parties. From toxic food and beverages to raucous guests, a barbecue is a minefield of potential pet problems.
“Even the most timid dog can leap a six-foot fence if he’s spooked by loud noises,” says Dr. Pamela Reid, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center. If your dog shows signs of distress from boisterous revelers, Dr. Reid suggests giving him a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter. “The persistent licking should calm his nerves,” she says.
Here’s some more expert advice to keep your pet safe and sound this Memorial Day:
Since alcohol is potentially poisonous to pets, place all wine, beer and spirits well out of paws’ reach.
Stick with your pet’s normal dietany change, even for a day, can result in an upset stomach. Certain foods like onions, avocado, chocolate, grapes and raisins are especially toxic to pets.
Avoid lathering your pet with any insect repellent or sunscreen not intended for the four-legged kind. Ingestion can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy.
Keep your pet away from matches, citronella candles and lighter fluid, which if eaten can irritate the stomach, lungs and central nervous system.
Don’t leave pets unsupervised around a pool or lakenot all dogs are expert swimmers! Also, pools aren’t large water bowlsthey contain chlorine and other toxic chemicals that can cause stomach upset.
As always, if you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous from the picnic table, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at (888) 426-4435. Check out our other pet care tips for a safe and saucy summer!
2. Gulf Coast Animal Responders Receive $15,000 Grant from ASPCA
In the wake of the Gulf Coast oil spill, the ASPCA has donated $15,000 to the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation (TVMF) in Austin, TX, to develop a detailed curriculum and training program for emergency animal responders in the Texas Gulf region. Established in 1978, TVMF is dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of animals through owner education programs, veterinary student scholarships and emergency funds, and continuing education programs.
“The ASPCA recognizes the importance of disaster preparedness and assembling the resources to assist animal victims of both natural and man-made disasters,” says Allison Cardona, Director of Operations for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team. “We’re pleased to support the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation’s efforts to create specially trained teams.”
TVMF will recruit a number of professionals in veterinary medicine, law enforcement, and the animal sheltering field who will receive training in disaster zone assessment, animal care and handling methods, and disaster response procedures.
“As we've seen with the Gulf Coast oil spill and Hurricane Ike, disasters will always happen,” says Kay Mayfield, Executive Director of Texas State Animal Resource Team (TxSART), the companion animal emergency management branch of the TVMF. “Through TxSART, we now have a united front to manage emergencies, and the creation of specialized and skilled response teams will improve our effectiveness.”
For more information about the ASPCA’s Emergency and Disaster Response Grant program, please visit our Grant section online.
3. USDA Fails to Protect Puppy Mill Dogs
Earlier this week, the Office of the Inspector General released a report detailing the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) lax and ineffective enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) against licensed large-scale dog breeders and brokers known as puppy mills. As part of the investigation, auditors visited 81 facilities and reviewed records documenting 28,443 violations over a two-year period.
The report concludes that despite regular inspections, breeders were allowed to continue operating facilities where dogs lived in inhumane conditions—cages overflowing with pools of urine and feces, food laden with dead cockroaches, and dogs infested with ticks and unattended injuries including a mutilated leg and other atrocities—all without penalty. Furthermore, in cases of severe neglect and abuse, inspectors failed to confiscate the animals. At one Oklahoma mill, despite discovering five dead dogs and others who had resorted to cannibalismdue to starvation, investigators took no action. This resulted in the deaths of 22 more dogs. The ASPCA is saddened by the findings, but we are not surprised.
The ASPCA has been painfully aware of the cruel conditions to which dogs are regularly subjected at the hands of puppy mill operators who put profit above providing the most basic standards of care. "Puppy mills are a primary focus of the ASPCA's anti-cruelty initiatives," says Cori Menkin, ASPCA Senior Director of Legislative Initiatives. "The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Teamhas rescued countless dogs from puppy mills and aided in the prosecution of their owners." This past February, the ASPCA rescued more than 95 severely underweight dogs from a puppy mill in Holly Springs, MS—the animals were being housed in feces-encrusted pens and suffering from severe neglect.
In addition to our nationwide investigations, the ASPCA supports landmark legislation, including the Missouri Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act. "This is a groundbreaking citizens' initiative aimed at drastically improving the lives of dogs in Missouri kennels," explains Menkin. With an estimated 3,000 puppy mills in the state, Missouri has rightly come to be known as the Puppy Mill Capital of America.
"While the ASPCA commends the Office of the Inspector General for its detailed audit, we hope the findings will lead to stronger, more consistent enforcement by the USDA, more federal funding to increase the number of inspectors enforcing the Animal Welfare Act, and ultimately, more humane conditions for the dogs," says Menkin.
For more informationabout this cruel industry, visit the ASPCA's Puppy Mill section.
4. ASPCA Offers to Find Homes for Evicted Carriage Horses
Last year, the City of New York gave Shamrock Stablesthe West 45th Street home to more than two dozen Central Park carriage horsesuntil June of this year to move out of its current, City-owned facilities. The City has kept its deadline and plans to demolish the current stables to build an affordable housing development that will include a new school, stores and open spaces.
Shamrock Stables has been leasing its lot from the City for below market value for many years, and Midtown's other horse stables are already packed to capacity. With a scarcity of properties that are close to Central Park, appropriately priced and zoned, the future of these carriage horses is up in the air.
The ASPCA, in collaboration with NY-CLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets), has made an offer to Shamrock Stables and the City to find homes for the horses and relocate them to safer, more humane environments. This option would put the welfare of the horses first, and prevent them from being auctioned off to work farms, the slaughterhouse or other venues where the possibility for exploitation and inhumane treatment is high.
“At this time, we have made a clear offer to Shamrock Stables,” says Michelle Villagomez, ASPCA Senior Manager of Advocacy. “We stand ready to assist in any way we can to help improve conditions for these horses.”
"Even though we have opposing views on the proper treatment of horses, we believe that in this case, we can all work together on their behalf," says ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. "We stand ready to cooperate with Shamrock Stables and the City on this important issue."
To learn more about New York City’s carriage horse industry, please read our Fight Cruelty fact sheet.
5. ASPCA Happy Tails: Mountain High
Occasionally, here at Happy Tails HQ, we like to feature adoption success stories from shelters around the country. This week, we’re enjoying the story of a Seattle-based couple who found furry love at PAWS, an animal shelter in Lynwood, WA. When Andrea Maikovich-Fong and her husband moved from Philadelphia to Seattle last year, they looked forward to adding a pooch to their feline-centric household. As luck would have it, they were struck by the love bug at PAWS, where they met a sweet Lab mix named Cole. Andrea recently sent us a note about Cole’s sometimes bumpy road to domestic bliss.
My husband and I went to PAWS on a "just looking" mission, but completely fell in love with a black Lab mix who peered out at us from his cage with hopeful, expectant eyes. He had been surrendered by his owner and transferred between two shelters, so it had been a rough month for him. It became clear that his timid personality was not meant for shelter life.
Because we weren't expecting to adopt that day, we didn't have any supplies, so our first stop on the way home was the pet store. Cole pranced through the store with a spring in his step, communicating his preferences for bones, food, toys and beds. At home, he quickly made it known that he belonged. He ignored the cats, jumped on our bed and rolled over, wagging his tail as if to say, “Ahhthis is more like it!"
Cole did not come without some challenges, like separation anxiety, running away from a pet-sitter and the resulting five-day pursuit, and urinating in our apartment. But we did not give up on himwith patience and unconditional love, he has learned to trust us completely. He loves to curl up next to us in our tent when we go camping, enjoys long hikes in the mountains, and has become a central part of our family. We have many questions about what he experienced in the past, but he is perfectly bonded to us, and we can't imagine life without him.
Read more touching stories of furry fate in our Happy Tails archive.