- 1. ASPCA Happy Tails: Foxy Lady
- 2. ASPCA Rescues More than 100 Starving, Neglected Horses in Arkansas
- 3. Puppy Mill Victory in Missouri Threatened by Repeal
- 4. Protect Your Bird from Kitchen Dangers
1. ASPCA Happy Tails: Foxy Lady
Many of the most heart-warming happy endings follow some of the most heart-wrenching beginnings. For Sloan von Spiessbach’s dog Foxy, that beginning was as rough as it gets.
Says Sloan: “When I went to the ASPCA on March 5, 2010, I wasn't looking for the most adoptable puppy. I wanted a dog who was going to be more of a challenge—one that had had a really rough start in life. That's what I found with Faye (now Foxy).”
Foxy, an underweight American Eskimo mix with bald patches, anemia, 10 missing teeth and GI problems, came from a puppy mill. The ASPCA had raided a mill in Holly Springs, Mississippi, a month earlier, and more than 95 dogs were rescued from deplorable conditions. The dogs were transferred to various shelters for adoption, and a lucky 32—including Foxy—were transported to our headquarters in New York City.
As a puppy mill survivor, Foxy was unused to basic doggy activities like walking on a leash, running and stretching, and experiencing new sights and sounds. Because of that background, Sloan discovered, Foxy’s “physical issues were nothing compared to her paralyzing fear. She was literally frozen stiff and would ‘hit the deck’ if you moved too quickly around her. She didn't even know what to do when given a toy.”
Ten months of love and encouragement later, not only does Foxy know what to do with a toy, she keeps dozens. “The furious squeaking of her toys can be heard all day long,” Sloan says. “At night she collects all of the toys strewn throughout the living room and carries them back to her room one by one. She puts them in her bed before jumping into bed with me. She has to have everything in order.”
Foxy is flourishing with her new family, including her 80–pound “boyfriend” Walker. (“It was love at first sight!” Sloan jokes.) A true clotheshorse who owns tons of sweaters, Foxy splits her time between New York and New Jersey and enjoys meals cooked specially for her each day.
Although Foxy is still jumpy, she’s getting a little less fearful every day. And the lifestyle she’s enjoying—that of an extremely pampered pooch—can’t hurt. As Sloan says, “Not bad for a dog who didn't even have her most basic needs met for more than five years!”
Want to read more adoption success stories? Check out our Happy Tails archive!
2. ASPCA Rescues More than 100 Starving, Neglected Horses in Arkansas
On December 9, 2010, members of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response (FIR) Team arrived at a farm in rural Fulton County, Arkansas, to rescue more than 100 neglected horses. Most of the horses were starving, and many had open wounds, untreated fractures, infections and other ailments.
The ASPCA, called to the scene after a seven-month investigation by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, immediately set to work to provide the horses with food, water and veterinary care, and has continued to work day and night to care for the horses. Many team members missed holidays with their families to stay and care for the horses, and the group even endured severe Arkansas weather to ring in the new year by the animals' side. “There is no doubt in any of our minds that this is where we belong—we owe these animals a second chance,” says Kat Destreza, ASPCA Southeast Director of Field Investigations and Response.
The team’s round-the-clock work mucking and stripping stalls, maintaining a strict feeding and watering schedule, and administering medications (and lots of carrots) has paid off. Most of the horses are responding well to veterinary care, and they’re regaining strength every day. “The horses are still under quarantine and are not yet available for adoption,” says Kyle Held, ASPCA Midwest Director of Field Investigations and Response, “but we’re hoping once they become available, the community will open their arms and offer these beautiful animals permanent homes.”
As 2010 drew to a close, the horses’ owner, horse trader Rodney Kankey, was charged with 118 counts of animal cruelty—five of them felonies. Each felony carries a penalty of up to six years in prison. On December 30, an arrest warrant was issued for Kankey. Coincidentally, on the same day, a deputy police sergeant from nearby Boone County responded to a call of a break-in and theft in progress and arrested Kankey at the scene. Kankey is being held in Boone County without bail on the Fulton County animal cruelty charges.
"We appreciate the diligence of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office in pursuing this case and bringing appropriate charges against the owner of these horses,” says Held. “Animal cruelty should not be tolerated in any community, and we’re pleased that Kankey was held accountable for blatantly neglecting his animals.”
To learn more about this animal cruelty case and to support the work of the ASPCA FIR team, please visit the Fulton County Equine Rescue page.
3. Puppy Mill Victory in Missouri Threatened by Repeal
One of the biggest stories in the animal welfare world in 2010 was the grassroots campaign to pass Proposition B, the Missouri Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act. It was a tough battle, but in the end, the Show-Me State’s long-suffering puppy mill dogs won the hearts and minds of the voters and passed by a popular majority, ushering in a new era for our nation’s undisputed puppy mill capital.
Unfortunately, this story’s happy ending is now in jeopardy. Several state-level senators and representatives serving in the Missouri General Assembly have expressed their intentions to pursue full or partial repeals of Prop B. But the numbers don’t lie: November’s vote proved that the majority of Missourians do not approve of keeping dogs in tiny cages for their entire lives, or forcing them to bear litter after litter without any time to recover. For state lawmakers to dismiss the decision of voting citizens is an affront to democracy and illustrates a stunning lack of respect for the intelligence of their constituents.
Missouri is home to one-third of all commercial dog breeding facilities in the U.S.—as many as the next three largest dog-breeding states combined—and supplies more than 40 percent of all puppies sold in pet stores nationwide. No matter where you live, there’s a good chance that the puppies in the window of your local pet store came from a Missouri puppy mill. Implementation of the Missouri Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act (scheduled for November) will impact other states, and so would the Act’s repeal. Allowing Missouri’s many substandard commercial breeders to continue treating dogs as they always have means that the flood of unhealthy puppies will continue unabated into pet stores.
Missouri’s state legislature convened earlier this week for its 2011 session. The ASPCA is asking Missouri citizens to contact their elected officials, many of whom are new to this issue, to express their opposition to any effort to repeal Prop B. If you don’t live in Missouri but still want to help, please spread the word by sharing this article via Facebook and Twitter.
4. Protect Your Bird from Kitchen Dangers
When it comes to super-sensitive sniffers, dogs are probably the most celebrated species—but companion birds like Finches, Canaries and Cockatiels also are able to detect minuscule changes in air quality that people would never notice. Coal miners famously used to bring canaries underground to detect the presence of potentially lethal carbon monoxide or methane gas because, sadly, birds can quickly get very sick and even die if exposed to certain airborne irritants.
Bird guardians need to be aware that the kitchen is the most dangerous room in the house for these special pets. Birds are highly sensitive to a variety of fumes, including aerosol sprays, smoke and cooking gas. Even heated cookware—all kinds, not just Teflon® coated and non-stick—can emit toxins that are harmless and undetectable to us, but can kill a pet bird within minutes.
“Birds are more sensitive to respiratory irritants than other animals because of differences in their respiratory systems,” explains Dr. Camille DeClementi of the ASPCA. “The use of non-stick pans around birds is particularly dangerous, because when these pans are exposed to excessive heat they release toxic fumes. To keep birds safe, pet parents should always remove them from the kitchen while cooking and should be very careful to avoid overheating non-stick pans.”
To see our complete list of ways to keep your bird’s beak out of harm’s way, please check out our article Top Ten Ways to Keep Your Bird Safe from Kitchen Dangers at ASPCA.org.