On the morning of Wednesday, April 20, a search warrant was executed for the confiscation of 41 dogs linked with multiple dog fighting operations in Halifax, Virginia. Working closely with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the United States Attorney’s Office, the ASPCA assisted in what is being dubbed one of the largest dog fighting busts the area has ever seen.
ASPCA responders have confirmed that many of the dogs exhibited scars consistent with fighting. The dogs were also denied access to clean water and appeared to be underweight. Skin infections and other medical conditions were apparent.
“Organized dog fighting is a brutal form of animal abuse where dogs are exploited and forced to fight as their owners profit from their torture,” says ASPCA Animal Fighting Specialist Terry Mills. “We are determined to protect our nation’s animals from this form of cruelty.”
All 41 dogs have been taken to an undisclosed location, where veterinarians will examine their medical conditions and temperaments.
In addition to removing the animals and collecting evidence for the prosecution of the criminal case, the ASPCA will collect DNA samples from the dogs and submit them to Canine CODIS (Combined DNA Index System), the nation’s first criminal dog-fighting DNA database.
Stay tuned for more breaking news as we continue to cover the case in Virginia.
With the close of tax season, returns are rolling in. But what to do with all that money? Well, before you indulge on something you could probably do without, have you thought about spending it in a way that would help animals?
Check out these great ways you can spend a little and make a big difference in the lives of animals!
Donate to the ASPCA! Your financial support could make a big impact for as little as 60 cents a day—what could be better than that?
Shop ‘Til You Drop. When you shop at We-Care’s more than 1,000 participating on-line shops, a portion of the purchase price will be donated to the ASPCA at no extra cost to you.
Let Your Garden Grow—Safely! Stay informed! With toxic plant information at your fingertips, this app is compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch and is available for only $2.99. A portion of every sale is donated to the ASPCA.
Throw a Party. Organize an event for all your friends, and donate the proceeds to your favorite shelter. Any kind of social event—a dinner party, car wash or community yard sale—is a great way to make new friends and raise money.
After 12 days of spirited online voting by more than 200,000 supporters, the ASPCA is thrilled to announce the 50 shelters that will compete in the 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge.
“We were blown away by the outpouring of support and by the number of votes cast for local shelters in the qualifying heat,” says Bert Troughton, ASPCA Vice President of Community Outreach.
The 50 contenders now will gear up for a three-month competition to save at least 300 more animals—during the months of August, September and October 2011—than they did over the same three-month period in 2010.
The agency with the biggest increase in animals saved will win $100,000. The agency that gets the most community members involved in saving animals will win a $25,000 grant; and those organizations that do the best in their regions will be eligible for between $5,000 and $25,000 in grants.
“If the buzz created during the voting is any indication of how much energy and passion we’ll see for these 50 contestants during the contest, then I think we’re in for a really inspiring 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge,” says Troughton.
If you've watched Animal Planet's award-winning reality series Animal Precinct, you've met ASPCA Special Agent Joann Sandano. A Humane Law Enforcement Agent with the ASPCA for more than 10 years, Agent Sandano has seen it all when it comes to animal cruelty.
Growing up on Long Island, Sandano began her professional career as a volunteer animal cruelty investigator for her local SPCA—but her devotion to saving animals became evident much earlier than that. We recently had a chance to talk to her about the path that led to her to protect the animals of New York City.
Have you always had a love for animals? Yes, I have loved animals for as long as I can remember. As a child, I was always bringing home injured birds, rabbits and other wildlife, as well as stray dogs and cats. While my parents weren't always overjoyed at the sight of me walking through the front door with a new critter, they indulged my hobby—needless to say, we always had a menagerie of pets.
When did you first realize you wanted to become an ASPCA HLE Agent? Well, I always had a thing for Sherlock Holmes, and when I was 10 years old, some friends and I formed the Lost Pet Detective Agency, where we tried to reunite lost pets with their guardians. I have to admit, we weren't very good at it and would mostly search the neighborhood aimlessly for lost animals. But as an adult, as soon as I found out there was such a thing as Humane Law Enforcement, I knew it was the perfect career choice for me. I have always had an innate passion to protect those who cannot stand up for themselves—especially animals—and being a Special Agent with the ASPCA has allowed me to do just that. Plus, I get to meet furry friends on a daily basis!
Speaking of furry friends, do you currently have any pets? Yes! I have two cats and three dogs—all of them rescues! I am a firm believer in choosing pet adoption as your first option. There are so many homeless animals sitting in shelters waiting for someone to love them—and they come in every adorable shape, size and color you could imagine!
What's the hardest part of your job? The most difficult part of my job is the realization that some people simply lack compassion for animals. Whether it's on purpose or through neglect, it never ceases to amaze me how cruel some people can be. I understand that not everyone will feel the same way about animals that I do, but people should have a basic respect for life.
Do you ever become attached to the animals you rescue? I try really hard not to, but have yet to master that ability. It would be very easy for me to adopt all of the animals I save, but if I did, I'd have a zoo at home! As an ASPCA Special Agent, you really have to make sure you put your emotions aside so that you can do your job to the best of your ability, which ultimately helps more animals. We all care about what happens to the animal victims we rescue. There is really no greater feeling than to see an abused or neglected animal adopted into a forever home where they will be safe and loved.
People view you as a bit of a heroine. How does that make you feel? I feel it is my duty to stand up to bullies, and anyone who hurts or neglects an animal is a bully in my book. That said, it's really those people who report animal cruelty who deserve the most praise. Without them, we wouldn't know that there is an animal in need.
Holly Springs, Mississippi—The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team found more than 95 severely underweight dogs living in feces-encrusted pens. The amount of neglect was shocking. Skin disease, rotted teeth, malnutrition and infection were widespread. Several dead dogs and puppies were discovered on the property.
In puppy mills, breeder dogs—many too sick to move—suffer with little to no medical care, inadequate food and no break from misery. They are treated as puppy‐making machines. And when they can no longer breed, they are simply discarded.
"Simply put, these dogs are considered a cash crop—the more puppies they can crank out, the more money the mills can make,” says Cori Menkin, ASPCA Senior Director of Legislative Initiatives. “When the dogs can no longer produce, they are deemed worthless, just like broken equipment."
It is a shameful and cruel industry—and purchasing a puppy from a pet store is the number one way to support it. But with your support, we continue to make life-saving changes.
Whether we are rescuing them from squalid mills or working hard to pass humane legislation—every single day, the ASPCA fights for these dogs. Please join our fight against puppy mills. Pledge not to buy your next pet or any pet supplies from retail stores that sell puppies. With your help, we can put an end this vicious cycle of cruelty.
To learn more about our efforts to combat this cruel industry, visit our Puppy Mill Section.