It’s finally here! After months of preparation and anticipation, it’s time for the 2013 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge. During this exciting three-month competition, from June 1 to August 31, 49 shelters nationwide will compete to break their own adoption records and save the most animals over the same period in 2012. Winners and finalists will earn prize grants, ranging from $5,000 to $100,000, so they can save even more animals in the future.
We’re getting the party started with $100K Challenge kick-off weekend this Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2. Participating shelters will host exciting adoption events all weekend long, featuring food, games and plenty of adorable, adoptable animals. Support your local competing shelter by attending a kick-off weekend event. Who knows? You might even bring home a furry new addition to your family. Please visit our events page to find out what’s happening in your area!
Follow all the #100KChallenge action this weekend on Twitter, and best of luck to all the shelters as they embark on this exciting Challenge to save more lives!
ASPCA President & CEO Matthew Bershadker (right) evacuates an animal with Tim Rickey, Vice President of the ASPCA's Field Investigations & Response team, during Hurricane Irene in August 2011.
We are very excited to announce that on June 1 our new President and CEO, Matthew Bershadker, is officially taking the helm. Matt has been with the ASPCA for 12 years and most recently served as Senior Vice President of our Anti-Cruelty Group.
Matt is succeeding Ed Sayres, who expanded the ASPCA’s reach by leaps and bounds during his ten-year tenure and changed the fate of millions of homeless animals. We are immensely grateful for Ed’s service to the organization and the animals who count on us.
Under Matt’s leadership, the ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Group has established a new national standard for responding to animal cruelty cases and natural disasters. He helped form the Field Investigations & Response team to provide skilled support to state and federal agencies during large-scale puppy mill busts, dog fighting raids, animal hoarding cases, and other instances of animal cruelty, as well as natural disasters like the tornado in Joplin and Hurricane Sandy.
Matt has been instrumental in the creation of the ASPCA’s new Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Madison, New Jersey, the first-ever facility dedicated to the behavioral rehabilitation of canine victims of cruelty. During Matt’s tenure, the ASPCA also launched the Cruelty Intervention Advocacy program, a ground-breaking effort to help protect companion animals that are in danger of potential abuse or neglect, and the No Pet Store Puppies and Farm Animal Welfare campaigns to crack down on puppy mills and vastly improve protections afforded to our country’s farm animals.
In May, when the appointment was announced, ASPCA Board Chair Tim F. Wray said Matt’s “extensive experience, energy and unwavering commitment to animal welfare, coupled with his strong understanding of business management and the non-profit world, make him the ideal leader for the organization as we pursue our mission.”
“I am thrilled to serve the ASPCA, its members and the many communities around the country where we play a vital role,” Matt said. “We have made significant strides on behalf of animals around the country, but there is much more to do.” He added that he looks forward to developing new initiatives “to take animal welfare to the next level.”
Matt lives in New York City with his wife, Nina, son Elias and their dog, Thelma. Please join us as we issue a warm welcome to our new President and CEO!
Last week the ASPCA helped remove more than 150 dogs from a large-scale, substandard breeding facility in Michigan. Just one week later, we’re happy to report we’ve been able to place the dogs with our amazing shelter partners. Midwest: That means some of these dogs could be in a shelter near you!
The following response partners accepted dogs from this case:
• Roscommon County Animal Shelter of Prudenville, Michigan • Medina County SPCA of Medina, Ohio • Animal Humane Society of Golden Valley, Minnesota • Kent County Animal Control of Grand Rapids, Michigan • Humane Society of West Michigan of Grand Rapids, Michigan • Michigan Humane Society of Rochester Hills, Michigan • HANDDS of Traverse City, Michigan
Some of the more fearful and undersocialized dogs have been transferred to the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey, for further treatment.
Before the transports, ASPCA responders cared for and provided the dogs with veterinary services at the Roscommon County Animal Shelter. Each dog was carefully evaluated by the ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior team before being transferred to the rescue groups.
“Thanks to our accommodating partner shelters, we were able to find placement for all of these dogs in just one week,” says Kathryn Destreza, Director of Investigations for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team. “These dogs have been living in miserable conditions their entire lives. We are excited to see them move on to shelters so quickly, and soon, to loving homes.”
According to news reports, Smithfield’s new ownership is primarily intended to export pork products to China, which is prohibited from sending its pork and beef to the U.S due to food safety concerns for both humans and companion animals. Increasingly, American consumers are concerned with the conditions in which their food is produced. Smithfield is one of many companies phasing out gestation crates, horrendous metal-barred cages that keep breeding sows in spaces so tight they cannot even turn around. It had pledged to remove these archaic cages from its international operations by 2022, and we are encouraged to hear the company state that it plans to keep this commitment.
What You Can Do
What can consumers do when faced with difficult issues surrounding food safety and the welfare of animals? Animal health and consumer safety can be encouraged through expanded education. If meat is part of your diet, there are several product-labeling programs that require higher standards of care for farm animals. They include:
Similarly, the government is increasingly responding to consumer demand for more transparency around the conditions in which our food is produced. Just last week, the US Department of Agriculture approved mandatory country-of-origin labeling on steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat that will indicate where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered. This is a huge step in the right direction and will help consumers make informed choices when shopping for their families.
Thor, a dog with special needs, has covered a lot of territory over the past three years. Since her adoption from the ASPCA Adoption Center in 2009, she has traveled with her pet parents, Steven R. and Roberto D., to countries including the Netherlands, Spain, England and Scotland. Steven shared the following story with us about this globetrotting pup:
We adopted our dog in June 2009. At the ASPCA her name was Mimi, but now she goes by Thor, which is much more fitting for her personality. When we first met her, she had just recovered from surgery. Thor had been hit by a car and had to have one of her hind legs amputated. Having three legs did not put a damper on her happiness and high energy.
Thor is now an international star! When my husband got a job offer in the Netherlands, we moved to Amsterdam for a year. After the flight, she looked a bit distressed, so we let her sleep in the bed that night for the first time. Now there is no going back—and she insists on sleeping between us every night. We gave her a pillow of her own.
Since then, Thor has been to Barcelona, where Roberto is from, several times for vacation. She's also been to Mallorca, Scotland and Utrecht. We now live in London, and it looks like this is where we will be settling down. Even with her three legs, Thor is always excited about taking several walks a day through the park next to our flat. She is very popular. In fact, she just won second place in a "cutest dog" competition for the north London neighborhood of Stoke Newington!
In the coming year, we hope to adopt a sister for her so we can add to our happy little family.