October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, and it could not have come at a more crucial time. According to the latest statistics, nearly 4 million dogs in the United States enter animal shelters annually—and up to 40% never find a home. It’s a staggering number, and it is a sobering reminder that our nation’s pet homelessness problem is very real and very tragic.
The ASPCA is determined to change that, and you can help. Here are three things you can do to celebrate Adopt a Shelter Dog Month:
1. Adopt: There are so many adorable dogs at the ASPCA Adoption Center just waiting to find a home. And—as if their cute faces aren’t incentive enough—we’re also offering reduced adoption fees all month long: $40 for dogs who weigh more than 40 pounds! If you’re not in the New York City area, use our nationwide database tool to find dogs in need of home near you.
2. Share Your Story: Have you rescued a dog? We want to hear about it! Your stories are a great way to spread the word about the joys of dog adoption, and to inspire others to bring home a furry friend of their own. Plus, you’ll be entered for the chance to win an ASPCA prize pack and have your story featured on ASPCA Parents!
3. Donate: We understand that not everyone can bring home a dog of their own. But just because you can’t adopt, doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Adopt a Shelter Dog Month! So far this month, over 250 animal lovers have stepped up and donated to support homeless pets. We are just 147 donors shy of our goal, and we hope that you can help.
This October, we want to save more lives than ever before. If you can’t adopt, do the next best thing: Make a gift today.
One of the realities of animal adoption is that not every animal fits in to every family. Every now and then, despite our best efforts, an animal will be returned after adoption. Such was the case with Leroy, a sweet gray kitty who spent nine months with a family before being brought back to our Adoption Center. But we never give up on an animal, and luckily for Leroy, the perfect couple came along and proved that sometimes, it takes two chances to find your one forever home. Here is Leroy’s Happy Tail.
Leroy first came to the ASPCA in October 2013. He was brought in from our city shelter—Animal Care & Control of NYC—with a stubby tail of unknown origins. He was adopted quickly, and we were thrilled to see him find a family. Knowing that he was taken care of, we returned our focus to the many animals still waiting for homes of their own.
Nine months later, however, Leroy was back at our door. The family could no longer care for him, stating that he had behavioral issues like crying and overeating. We took him back and recommitted ourselves to finding Leroy the forever family he deserved. Fortunately, Kristen and James arrived just in time.
Kristen and James moved to New York in August 2013—around the same time Leroy headed to his first home. The couple had both grown up with cats, and their move marked the first time either one had lived without one. But when dealing with a new city, new jobs, and new routines, cat adoption isn’t always in the immediate cards. “We wanted a cat from the get-go, but it didn’t really seem feasible with our schedules,” Kristen recalls. “But our apartment felt so empty.”
As the months went on, the couple found themselves missing feline companionship more and more. Kristen says, “About two weeks before we adopted, a friend visited with her cat and he was with us all weekend. It was fantastic, but after he left it just felt so lonely. We decided it was time.” They headed to the ASPCA Adoption Center, where Leroy, having just been returned, was waiting patiently for a new family.
Kristen and James met many kitties at the Adoption Center, but none seemed the right fit. Not ready to give up, they decided to visit one last group of cats. That’s when they saw Leroy. “He was laying down on an elevated platform, and when I walked over he looked up and snuggled my face,” says Kristen. “James came over and he did the same. We immediately fell in love” They adopted Leroy that same day, stating, “We couldn’t leave without him.”
Back at home, Leroy settled into his new life with ease. The couple renamed him Apollo, and he couldn’t be happier. “He loves to explore and watch pigeons out the window,” says Kristen. “He’s incredibly affectionate and playful—and his favorite toy is the Millennium Falcon!” In fact, Apollo is so content in his new home, he can’t help but brag about it! He keeps his own Facebook page that he updates himself, just to make sure everyone can see how much fun he is having.
While it’s always regretful to see an animal returned, we believe this is one instance where everything happened as it should. It may have taken two tries, but Apollo ended up in the best possible home—and in that end, that’s all that really matters.
Help us make more Happy Tails like these by making a gift to the ASPCA today.
It’s time to meet your match, people—your four-legged match! Once again the ASPCA is teaming up with dozens of animal shelters across the country for the third-annual ASPCA Mega Match-a-thon, presented by Subaru. This weekend (October 17-19), more than 100 animal rescues across the country are joining forces to co-host some epic adoption events. We chipped in more than $220,000 in grants, made possible by Subaru as part of our participation in the Subaru “Share the Love” event last year, to help make it happen. ASPCA supporter Swiffer is gifting shelters with its Big Green Box full of products, and adopters also will receive a coupon for a Swiffer Sweeper.
Last year’s Mega Match-a-thon saw nearly 6,000 pets adopted in just one weekend! Let’s top that number. Here’s how you can help:
Volunteers are the heartbeat of many an animal welfare organization, and Kansas City Pet Project’s volunteers proved their mettle during the organization’s efforts in the 2014 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge.
KCPP, a nonprofit, open admission shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, won the Challenge’s “Community Engagement Award”—a $25,000 grant, plus an additional $5,000—for a total of $30,000, for doing the best job of getting its community involved in saving more animals: 1,989 cats and dogs were saved during the three-month contest, an increase of 491 animals over the same period in 2013.
The prize was presented October 7 in person—to KCPP shelter executives, staff and more than 50 volunteers—by ASPCA representatives.
“We could never have done this without our volunteers,” said Kelly Walsh, KCPP’s volunteer coordinator, beaming with pride and recalling how volunteers promoted KPCC’s initiatives non-stop during June, July and August.
KCPP took in more than 1,000 pets per month during June and July, coinciding with the shelter’s busiest intake months of the year. “We then broke adoption records in July and again in August,” said Tori Fugate, KCPP’s manager of marketing and development.
“We hardly have any advertising budget, so we rely heavily on social media,” she continued, explaining that KCPP’s public Facebook page increased its members by 86 percent (17,000) during the contest. KPCC also has private Facebook pages for each of its adoption locations so volunteers may spread the word about foster opportunities, the need for drivers, or shelter wish lists. “We post adoption and intake numbers daily,” Tori added. “We keep our volunteers informed and updated all the time.”
Tori also credits large organizations like the Kansas City Royals—current World Series contenders—who supported KCPP during the Challenge. “They were huge; one of their staff even adopted a dog from us,” she said. Other major organizational support came from Sprint, the Kansas City Visitors Association, and Boulevard Brewing Company, among others. KCPP also ran cross promotions with other shelters, elementary schools and local businesses.
All the while, volunteers continued their groundswell of buzz and heavy lifting. The result: Newsletter subscribers increased 67 percent (4,000), and volunteers multiplied. By the end of the Challenge, 296 new volunteers had signed on.
Chad Ackerman, director of institutional research at Park University, serves as volunteer community outreach coordinator for KCPP. “We worked hard expanding our presence, especially north of the river,” explained Chad, who organizes adoption efforts at KCPP’s 4,400-sq.-ft. storefront center in Zona Rosa, north of town, where 533 animals were adopted during the Challenge.
Volunteers also helped drum up the 13,695 votes that helped clinch the shelter’s award. A gigantic sheet cake, complete with those seven digits squiggled in orange frosting, was presented to KCPP by the ASPCA before being cut and distributed by Teresa Johnson, KCPP’s CEO/executive director, who explained how the much-needed funding would be put to use.
“Our medical fund always needs money,” she said. “Saving lives is expensive. We treat parvo, heartworm, animals with broken legs and other injuries; everything that’s treatable.”
“This is a big city and we’re a new organization—we’ve had to change our image,” added KCPP board president Brent Toellner, who founded KCPP with his wife, Michelle Davis, in January 2012. “We showed our community that we care about animals, and it’s been great to have volunteers and others involved and be part of our progress.”
Beth Rice, who has volunteered at KCPP for just over a year, told how the sheer number of kittens coming in during the summer months convinced her to foster. She recalled how KCPP took in one to two litters of kittens per day—1,200 under the age of three months—during the Challenge.
“We were bottle feeding all summer long,” said Beth, as she monitored her Facebook feed closely before KCPP’s award was announced. A message appeared—from another volunteer: “Still waiting to hear the news! Did we win???” it read. “Yes!!!” Beth excitedly typed back.
“I’m just a volunteer, but I say that with pride,” she said.
In May, the ASPCA assisted in the rescue, removal and sheltering of more than 550 birds from properties associated with cockfighting in Virginia. Five people charged in conjunction with the case have now received sentencing, and today we have an update on their status.
On Thursday, a federal judge sentenced Kentucky man Walter Stumbo, 51, to 18 months in prison. His wife, Sonya Stumbo, 51, and their son, Joshua Stumbo, 33, each received ten months. Sonya Stumbo was convicted at trial and the other two pleaded guilty to multiple charges, including possession of an animal for use in animal fighting.
In addition, Wesley Robinson, 57, and his son Jonathan Robinson, 33, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to operate an illegal gambling enterprise and illegally conducting cockfights; one count of transporting fighting roosters across state lines; one count of transporting bird fighting knives across state lines; and one count of illegally distributing oxycodone.
On August 27, Wesley Robinson was sentenced to six months in prison. On October 8, Jonathan Robinson was sentenced to join his father in prison for a sentence of one year and one day.
“The cruel and inhumane practice of cockfighting has no place in civilized society and is against federal law,” U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said in a written statement. “We will vigorously investigate and prosecute individuals who attend, facilitate, or profit from the misery inflicted on animals during these barbaric fights.”
In the aftermath of the raid, the ASPCA has learned more about the illegal cockfighting operation. Known as the “Big Blue” Cock Fighting Pit, the enterprise in McDowell, Kentucky, featured arena-style seating, multiple fighting pits and a restaurant. The Robinsons reportedly brought the birds from Wise County, Virginia, to Big Blue on weekends, and spectators allegedly travelled from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, and other states to attend fights at Big Blue.
“Big Blue” had approximately 5,000 members. Entrance fees ranged from $250 to $2,500, and over $90,000 in cash was seized at the Stumbos' home.