As our recent puppy mill raid in Alabama illustrates, there is a real need for states to step up and regulate commercial dog breeding facilities. These laws not only benefit dogs, but also potential pet owners, taxpayers, animal shelters and the rescue community: states with no laws to oversee these businesses pay a high price when these facilities spiral out of control.
Puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization. Puppy mill dogs do not get to experience treats, toys, exercise or basic grooming. Breeding dogs at mills often spend their entire lives outdoors, exposed to the elements—or crammed inside filthy, wire-floored structures, stacked on top of one another, where they never get the chance to feel sunlight or breathe fresh air. To maximize profits, female dogs are bred at every opportunity with little to no recovery time between litters.
Many people think that what we’ve just described is already illegal—but that’s not the case. The federal Animal Welfare Act regulates some breeding facilities, but not all of them. Further, the federal standards are far from what most people consider to be humane and amount to nothing more than mere survival standards for dogs. Most importantly, poor enforcement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture means thousands of dogs are left to suffer in inadequate and inhumane conditions year after year, even in federally licensed facilities.
States have the authority to enact and enforce higher standards of humane care for commercially bred animals, yet 21 states still do not have any laws regulating large-scale dog breeders, making them magnets for puppy mills. Alabama is one of these states. Kentucky is another, and so is Michigan (are you seeing a pattern yet?). Please see the chart below to learn how your state stacks up. You’ll see that we have a lot of work left to do.
The ASPCA has a long history of working to pass laws that protect dogs in commercial breeding facilities. You can help us by joining ASPCA Advocacy Brigade. If you live in North Carolina or Montana, you can take action right now by supporting puppy mill legislation that’s pending in those states. And to learn more about puppy mills, please visit nopetstorepuppies.com.
Update, 3/14: Thanks to those of you who pointed out that we had mistakenly identified Wisconsin as a state with no substantive standards of care when in fact, there are some strong standards in place for commercially bred dogs there—our apologies for the mistake! Wisconsin's status has been updated in the version below. We do our best to keep these charts up to date, but sometimes we miss things and we want you to let us know if you see anything inaccurate.
For the seventh year in a row, the ASPCA was selected as one of four national charities to participate in the Subaru “Share the Love” event, which ran from November 20, 2014, to January 2, 2015. This year, Subaru exceeded our expectations with the decision to increase their total charitable donation from $10 million in 2013 to $15 million in 2014, and the ASPCA received over $2 million from Subaru of America as a result of our participation in this year’s campaign.
For the second consecutive year, Subaru also encouraged local retailers to select a local Hometown Charity to participate in the campaign. In addition, the ASPCA provided 50 animal welfare organizations with up to $5,000 in grant funds to host a one- or two-day “Share the Love” event with their local Subaru retailer during the six-week campaign. The results are still coming in, but shelters have reported hundreds of adoptions, over $70,000 in cash donations, thousands of donated supplies and an increased awareness and celebration of animal welfare in communities across the country!
During the “Share the Love” event, the ASPCA also provided $100,000 in grants to 19 animal welfare organizations across the country to conduct ASPCA/Subaru “Share the Love” Rescue Rides for the second year in a row. These Rescue Rides are a series of life-saving animal transports that move homeless pets to shelters where they have a greater chance of finding a home. Transports began on November 20, 2014 and will go through March 20, 2015. While the results are still coming in, the estimated animal impact is nearly 3,000 animals.
Thank you to Subaru of America and Subaru owners for your dedication and support of the ASPCA—and for the countless animals that you have helped through the “Share the Love” event!
Shay Shay is a social and friendly cat. This pretty lady likes gentle attention from her favorite humans, but she prefers to take things slow. Let her sniff your hand before petting her and, once you’re her friend, she’ll reward you with lots of love and affection!
It may take Shay Shay some time to adjust to her new surroundings. With the help of her favorite toys and some yummy treats, she’ll relax into her new home in no time. This special feline has a medical condition that requires daily medication, but our Adoptions team can give you tips on how to manage her health needs. Shay Shay would do best as the only cat in a household with kids 10-and-up. Adopt Shay Shay today!
Shay Shay is available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting, please call our Adoptions Department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120. To learn more about Shay Shay, please visit her profile page.
Watch the video below to check out Shay Shay in action at our Adoption Center!
On Monday, the USDA released a report in response to a front-page New York Times story detailing horrific animal abuse at the tax-funded U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC). The report attempts to let USMARC off the hook for the needless pain and suffering imposed on countless animals and demonstrates that the USDA continues to be its own best rubber stamp.
The New York Times piece made clear that there were serious problems at USMARC, and in some ways, the report backs that up. It acknowledges that USMARC’s animal welfare oversight committee was not compliant with certain policies and procedures. Specifically, the animal welfare oversight committee didn’t know what its job was, didn’t adequately review or oversee animal research to ensure it was humane, and didn’t meet regularly to discuss animal welfare.
But while it’s laudable that the report calls out those problems, that’s where the accountability ends. Inexplicably, the report finds that despite widespread systemic flaws, life for the animals at USMARC is just hunky-dory and no suffering results from the complete lack of structure and welfare oversight. This conclusion defies common sense and contradicts what we saw in the New York Times piece.
While USMARC was charging ahead with animal experiments outside of compliance with its own policies, the agency was failing to notice or act. Meanwhile, federal funds were doled out to pay for these projects—including experiments that allowed hundreds of lambs to freeze to death in fields, “twinning studies” that retooled cows to have more twins even while the calves died at higher and higher rates, and “libido studies” where heifers were restrained and mounted by bulls, causing the death of at least one cow from her injuries. If not for courageous whistleblowers, who knows when or if the USDA would have investigated?
This cavalier attitude toward animal well-being simply wouldn’t be tolerated at any respectable research institution. The fact that these deficiencies exist 13 years after the USDA instituted a largely ignored policy on humane animal care and use demonstrates all too clearly where animal welfare lies on the USDA’s priority list.
They say timing is everything, and in the world of animal adoptions, nothing could be more true. For a tiny Shih Tzu named Maverick, a painful past paved the way for a bright, happy future—but none of it would have happened if he hadn’t been in the right place at the exact right time. Here is his Happy Tail.
In December 2012, Maverick was hit by a car. He was rescued by the local city shelter, but was transferred to the ASPCA once it became apparent that he couldn’t walk or use his legs. He had a fractured pelvis, a broken hip and a ruptured ligament in his knee. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Maverick trembled and cried while doctors assessed his situation. He was terrified of people and objects; he urinated and defecated from fear. It was clear that the poor dog was hurting in every possible way.
ASPCA veterinarians performed multiple surgeries on Maverick during his month-long stay at the hospital, and by January he was able to walk again. To ease his recovery, we sent him to live as a foster pet in the home of an ASPCA staffer, where he slowly learned to trust people. He became a regular at our facility, both as a patient and with his foster mom, and it was there that he first met Crissy.
Crissy M. had been working at the ASPCA as a customer service representative for just two weeks when she met Maverick in April 2013. “He was the $11,000 dog, that’s what we called him,” she says, referring to the costly surgeries the tiny pup had received. As a new employee, Crissy hadn’t planned on bringing home a new pet any time soon, but there was something special about Maverick, and she began visiting him on her lunch break. “He was always thrilled to see me. He was so friendly, so sweet,” she recalls fondly.
One day when Crissy went looking for Maverick, he was nowhere to be found. “I panicked,” she said, assuming that the dog had been adopted. She was waiting anxiously for the elevator when, all of a sudden, the doors opened and there he was. “He was going out for a walk with his foster mom. He had on a pink cast. I knew it was love.” Against all prior plans, Crissy knew that she and Maverick were meant to be. “I wanted to be the lucky human who gave him a loving home.”
Still in a cast, Maverick had one more hurdle to overcome: Crissy’s other dog, Rebecca. “I had Rebecca come in to meet him. She wasn’t thrilled at first, but they were cordial enough with each other that we were able to take Mav home and he finished his recovery with us,” she says. But it turns out that a little R&R—and a permanent home—were all that Maverick needed to come into his own. “Within a few days, Becky and Maverick were sharing toys and cuddles,” Crissy says with pride.
In the year since his adoption, Maverick’s life has done a complete 180, and he seems to have forgotten all about his painful past. “Maverick is definitely a mama’s boy,” Crissy says. “If I’m in the shower, he’s on the bath mat. If I’m in the kitchen, he’s at my feet. He grew very attached to us and he’s filled our home with so much happiness.”
We’ll never know who hit Maverick with that car, but we do know that in some way, it led to his meeting with Crissy at the ASPCA. If she had started working one week later, or if he hadn’t been on the elevator at that precise moment, they might never have ended up together. But as we said, timing is everything, and after all his pain, Maverick is finally having the time of his life.