Guest blog post by Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations.
Recently, we received word of a tragic story from Oregon in which a family’s beloved dog was strangled to death by a heavy-duty trap left by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services division. This little-known federal agency uses tax dollars to kill wildlife species that homeowners and ranchers consider to be problematic or nuisances. Unattended traps and poisons—and even helicopter hunting—are all routine features of Wildlife Services’ campaign to kill wildlife. Their work is often carried out without oversight or public notification, and as the event in Oregon shows, can have heartbreaking results.
Doug and Denise McCurtain found their seven-year old Border Collie, Maggie, caught in a Conibear trap set by Wildlife Services to kill nutria (a small, non-native wild animal) in their neighborhood. This trap, which is designed to break the neck and strangle an animal, was placed less than 50 feet from their backyard, near a pond where children and pets often play. The McCurtains’ homeowners’ association notified them that traps would be set, but the McCurtains were not informed that such a dangerous trap would be used on land, or that an unmarked trap would be placed so close to their home.
Unfortunately, Maggie’s case isn’t the first time a family pet has been killed by Wildlife Services. Tragedies like this happen all too often. Earlier this year, a beloved family dog in Texas named Bella was poisoned by an unmarked explosive device left by Wildlife Services containing sodium cyanide.
U.S. Wildlife Services must do more to prevent tragedies like these. Better notification of the dangers in the community could have spared Maggie’s life. As long as Wildlife Services continues to use lethal means to manage wildlife, the agency places our pets at risk and causes terrible suffering and death to thousands of wild animals each year. If this disturbs you, we urge you to contact your U.S. senators and representative and ask them to stop spending your tax dollars on dangerous programs to kill wildlife.
It’s time to deck the halls…and hit the roads! For many of us, it’s just not the holidays without our pets and there’s no question we’re bringing them to all the family celebrations—even if those festivities are 1,000 miles from home.
According to the 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey (conducted by the American Pet Products Association), the number of pet parents who bring Fido on the road is steadily increasing. And the holidays are no exception!
The holidays are a popular time to bring home a new pet—and for animals in shelters, getting a real home is the best gift ever. But listen up, potential pet parents: Bringing home a new furry friend is also a serious commitment.
To help would-be adopters, the ASPCA Adoption Center has prepared a special video explaining the do’s and don’ts of holiday pet adoption.
Just remember, surprises are wonderful, but never give a pet as a gift. See if your shelter has a gift-certificate instead!
Can we all agree that confining dogs in small cages for 20 to 23 hours a day, almost every day, is cruel?
True, this confinement doesn’t meet legal definitions of cruelty, but, legal or not, most of us who love dogs know that this is wrong. Yet this is the way of life for the thousands of greyhounds who are forced to race in this country’s greyhound industry.
Greyhound racing only occurs in seven states, with the majority of greyhound tracks located in Florida. This week, GREY2 USA, with funding from the ASPCA, released a report detailing the horrific conditions racing greyhounds are subject to in Florida. You can access a copy of the report here [PDF].
Racing greyhounds are in their cages nearly all the time. They are fed “4-D” meat, which means meat that comes from dying, diseased, disabled and dead livestock deemed unfit for human consumption. Their owners feed them this raw meat simply because it is the cheapest available, and they don’t even bother to cook it to destroy the bacteria.
Florida does not require its greyhound racing facilities to report injuries to the public, but we have documentation of dogs with broken legs, backs and skulls; dogs who have died of seizures after racing; dogs who have died of heart attacks; and a dog who was electrocuted. Racing dogs have repeatedly tested positive for drugs such as cocaine.
While the dogs suffer every day as part of this industry, few people even seem to notice. Attendance at greyhound races has dramatically declined through the years, and tracks actually lose money on the dogs. But since Florida law won’t permit dog track owners to continue gambling operations at those tracks unless those tracks hold dog races, the races continue.
Two bills (HB 641 and SB 382) are pending in Florida that would remove the requirement that dog tracks offer live greyhound racing in order to also offer card games or slots. If you live in Florida, please contact your legislators to ask them to support this legislation.
Guilty! Today the Marshall County Prosecutor's Office confirmed that two Mississippi residents—John and Nancy Garrison—pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty. The charges stem from a 2010 puppy mill raid when the ASPCA rescued more than 100 dogs found living in deplorable conditions.
John and Nancy Garrison were each sentenced to six months in jail and 11 months and 29 days of supervised probation. They were also ordered to pay $26,847.14 in restitution to the ASPCA and $2,793.19 to the Marshall County Humane Society, which will be suspended pending successful completion of the probation terms. As part of the probation, the Garrisons are prohibited from owning or harboring animals, and/or residing at any residence with animals for five years.
“The ASPCA is pleased the defendants are taking responsibility for subjecting these dogs to a life of pain and suffering,” said Tim Rickey, Senior Director of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team. “The ASPCA appreciates the diligence of the Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office for seeing this case through to the end. We hope to continue our work in investigating puppy mills and rid the nation of this cruel and inhumane industry.”
For more information on the Holly Springs, Mississippi, puppy mill investigation, please visit our puppy mill section.