Last night, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents arrested Brooklyn resident Monique Smith for fatally injuring an adult female hamster. During a heated argument with a family member, the 19-year-old squeezed the hamster with her bare hands and threw the pet across the street.
“Inflicting such severe injury on a helpless hamster signals the potential for violence directed at other vulnerable victims,” says Stacy Wolf, Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel for the Humane Law Enforcement. “Fortunately in New York, all pets, even hamsters, are covered under the felony animal cruelty law.”
The deceased hamster was taken by Agents to the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital for a necropsy. Results revealed that the small animal had suffered blunt force trauma, liver damage and an associated hemorrhage.
Smith was arrested by Special Agent Patrick Breen. She was charged with one count of aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony; one count of cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor; and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. If convicted, she faces up to two years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
Take Action We need you on our side! If you suspect an animal may be the victim of neglect or abuse, please report it. Visit our Report Cruelty FAQ to learn how to report cruelty in your neighborhood.
Last November, the citizens of the State of Missouri passed an ASPCA-supported ballot resolution (Proposition B) to increase regulations for commercial dog breeders and implement humane care standards for the dogs living in the state’s thousands of puppy mills. The state’s legislature was not in session at the time, but after Prop B’s victory, there were immediate rumblings of discontent from some state senators and representatives—and sure enough, as soon as the Missouri General Assembly convened in January, several bills were introduced with the intent to weaken or fully repeal the law enacted by Prop B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act (PMCPA). The PMCPA is scheduled to go into effect this November.
The situation in Missouri is coming to a head this week. Completely disregarding the will of the people, last night the Missouri Senate took the first step toward approving Senate Bill 113—a bill to roll back every humane provision of the PMCPA—which indicates that they will probably pass the bill. A final vote is expected on Thursday, March 10. During yesterday’s debate, senators rejected an amendment that would have referred their new, weak commercial breeding law back to the ballot for Missouri voters to weigh in on.
The Missouri House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on a similar bill, HB 131. For either bill to become law, it needs approval in both chambers of the General Assembly, and it is expected that Senate Bill 113 will move through the House very quickly after it is passed by the Senate. The ASPCA has been emailing our supporters in Missouri regularly, imploring them to call their state senators and representatives to express outrage at the legislature’s dismissal of the popular vote on this issue and to urge legislators to vote no on any bill that would weaken or repeal the PMCPA.
We know the rest of the country is keeping a close eye on Missouri, as what happens there will likely set the stage for puppy mill reform nationwide. Please stay tuned and be sure to read this week’s News Alert for the latest developments from the Missouri General Assembly—developments that could quite possibly spell doom for the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act.
In Ohio, calves raised for veal typically are housed in tiny stalls, often chained at the neck, making it is impossible for them to turn around, stretch or even lie down comfortably. This barbaric practice is used to prevent muscle development—ultimately producing a more “tender” meat, without regard for the well-being of the calves themselves. The American Veal Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, and Ohio Veterinary Medical Association all reject this practice and support living conditions that allow veal calves to turn around.
In 2010, the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board approved a new standard: By the end of 2017, veal calves of all ages must be given enough room to be able to turn around. However, in a tragic turn of events, the board met yesterday (March 1) and approved an amendment that will allow veal farmers to continue to confine calves in tiny, individual pens for the first 10 weeks of their lives.
“We are very disappointed that the board voted 6-5 in favor of removing language that would have allowed calves of all ages to turn around,” says Cori Menkin, ASPCA Senior Director of Legislative Initiatives. “Since veal calves generally live only 16 to 18 weeks before they are slaughtered, these animals will be confined to tiny crates for more than half of their short lives.”
On March 1, the ASPCA Adoption Center welcomed a dozen Chihuahuas from California who arrived in the Big Apple in search of new forever homes. The dogs started their journey at the City of San Francisco Animal Care & Control, and their in-cabin transportation was donated by Virgin Airlines. After some post-travel rest and relaxation, the tiny pups will be made available for adoption next week at the ASPCA in Manhattan.
Over the past few years, California shelters have seen a dramatic increase in Chihuahua intakes—this toy breed now makes up nearly one-third of the state’s shelter dog population. While demand for Chihuahuas has declined in much of the Golden State, their popularity in New York City is as high as ever.
This isn’t the first time the ASPCA has opened our doors to Left Coast pooches. In January 2010, we welcomed 15 dogs to our Manhattan headquarters in the first-ever Operation Chihuahua."We are glad to be given this opportunity to help New Yorkers get the small dogs they want, and at the same time, help find loving homes for San Francisco’s homeless animals," said Gail Buchwald, ASPCA Senior Vice President, at the time.
The latest group of dogs range in age, although most of them are young adults and on the shy side. They require quiet homes with experienced dog parents and no young children under age 10. Once they are made available, adoption fees will be $200 per dog, and will include all medical and behavioral treatments, vaccinations, spay/neuter surgery and a microchip.
For additional information, please visit ASPCA.org or call our special hotline at (212) 876-7700, ext. 3210.