In a letter to the editor published today in The Star Ledger, ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker urges New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to take action on a pending pet purchasing bill.
When a family buys a puppy from a New Jersey pet store, they’re doing more than just exchanging money for a pet. Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills, so when consumers buy these dogs from pet stores, they are in fact supporting an industry that systematically abuses animals for profit.
In puppy mills across the country, dogs are typically stacked on top of one another in tiny, wire-floored cages that can injure their paws and legs. Female breeding dogs are forced to bear litter after litter without any time for their bodies to recover. Once they can no longer produce puppies, these mothers are often callously discarded or killed.
Conditions at puppy mills are reprehensible and intolerable, but many consumers are unaware that these sites are by far the leading source of pet store puppies. If pet stores are legally allowed to use unethical and inhumane breeders and brokers and to keep those sources secret, consumers have no way of making informed decisions when they bring a new pet into their family.
In December, New Jersey lawmakers took a strong step to insert accountability and transparency into the industry by unanimously passing S.1870 to amend New Jersey’s current Pet Purchase Protection Law. This new law would force New Jersey pet stores to disclose the breeders and brokers that supply them, giving consumers a chance to make informed decisions. It would also prohibit pet stores from selling puppies from breeders that fail to comply with even minimal federal and state standards, helping to put pressure on some of the worst industry participants to significantly improve their practices.
This law protects both animals and consumers, and we’re grateful to have worked closely with the bill’s sponsors and to have helped push it through the legislative process.
Now it’s up to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to take the final step by signing this bill. New Jersey residents can help by contacting the governor and telling him that Garden State animals and consumers deserve to be protected, not exploited.
The ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Madison, New Jersey, is the first and only facility dedicated to providing behavioral rehabilitation for fearful, undersocialized dogs, such as those confiscated from puppy mills and hoarding situations. In our regular “Pup and Circumstance” feature, we introduce the Rehab Center’s latest graduates in hopes of finding each one the loving forever home they deserve.
We’re so proud to announce that Flynn, a three-to-five year-old mixed breed dog, has graduated from our Rehab Center and is ready for a forever home! Flynn came to us last year after being rescued from a hoarding case in South Carolina, where he and 66 other dogs were found living in muddy water.
A “staff favorite,” Flynn can often be found relaxing in his fluffy bed, watching the world go by with his trademark mixture of curiosity and worldliness. He earned his nickname, “Prince Flynn,” due to his affinity for extra soft bedding atop his “throne.” He is reserved with people he does not know well, but comes alive in the presence of his good friends and is a playful, funny guy.
Flynn enjoys walks in quiet areas and would love to play with canine friends. He is snuggly with his favorite people and would be thrilled to share your couch while you catch up on the latest movies. His ideal family will understand his shy, reserved nature and have the patience to bring out the jester that lies beneath his quiet exterior.
Though Flynn was in relatively good health at the time of his rescue, he is suffering from double hip dysplasia—a painful joint condition—and is scheduled to have hip replacement surgery this month. Flynn would love to secure an adopter before his surgery so he can recover in a loving home. He is looking for a quiet household with another dog or two so he can play once his hips feel better.
If you are interested in adopting this wonderful dog, please contact the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at (973) 377-5609 or [email protected].
To see Flynn in action, check out the video below!
As part of the Subaru 'Share the Love' Event, we hosted a special photo contest in December to celebrate rescued pets and the people who gave them a second chance—and a loving home.
We asked each entrant to tell us what is so special about having their pets home for the holidays and received hundreds of heartwarming responses and adorable photos. Meet the winners below!
Bart, Buckley and Luna
Rescuing animals runs in Helen’s family—her grandmother still fosters animals through her local shelter and runs a horse farm at 78 years old! Through volunteering with her grandmother, Helen writes, “I learned about how special a bond can be between a person and a rescue pet. They've been dumped, cast aside, or lost. To me it's all about second chances, and giving loving homes to the ones who really need them. Buckley, Luna and Bart (all rescues) are more than just pets to me. They're family. And the holidays just wouldn't be the same without your family!”
Second Place Winners
“I'm always excited to get home because I know Rukas will be right at the door! He walks right up to me and falls over like a rag doll waiting to be picked up or rubbed on his belly,” Athina writes.
“My husband and I rescued a Pit Bull in October. He has changed our lives for the better and we cannot imagine a life without him. This will be his very first Christmas with us and we are beyond excited to give him a proper happy holiday filled with lots of love, treats and toys,” Chelsea writes.
After Christina lost her beloved 17-year-old cat, she knew she still had lots of love to give. As Christina walked through the shelter, Sophie appeared at the front of her cage, mewing right to her. “I knew the minute I saw her sweet face she was the newest member of our family,” she said. “She has been the best thing to come into our lives. She is full of energy and affection all of the time and we just love having her around. We're so happy she can fully enjoy life now and know she will be forever loved.”
All 50 state legislatures will meet this year, and almost all of them have hit the “reset” button on pending legislation: Any bills that didn’t pass in 2014 are dead, and the slate has been wiped clean. The same also applies to the 114th United States Congress, which convened on January 6 for the first of its two one-year sessions.
Here at the ASPCA, we’re already off and running: Meeting with new and returning legislators, helping to draft new animal-friendly legislation and garnering support for the reintroduction of our priority bills from last year.
On the federal side, we remain fiercely committed to passing legislation that would permanently ban horse slaughter within the U.S. as well as stop the export of American horses for that purpose. Other familiar federal bills we intend to revive include disaster planning for animals and protecting domestic violence survivors and their pets. Establishing quicker processes for re-homing animal victims of cruelty cases and working with the USDA to shape the organic animal welfare standards for chickens are just a few of the new issues we’ll tackle this year.
We also have an ambitious state-level agenda for 2015. Among other priorities, we’re working toward the day when all 50 states will regulate large-scale commercial dog breeders (puppy mills); making sure veterinarians can take action to help animals during disasters and rescues that occur outside their home states; and supporting animal shelters and law enforcement agencies that rescue and care for animal cruelty victims. We’ll also continue to battle insidious and dangerous ag-gag bills that aim to cover up animal cruelty on farms and other agricultural enterprises.
Input from constituents is often the tipping point in your elected officials’ voting decisions. It is up to you to let them know that you care deeply about protecting animals. Here are a few ways you can get involved in the legislative process and ensure that animals have the protections they deserve:
Participate in an ASPCA Voices for Animals Day to lobby at your state capitol, or join one of our online training sessions on citizen advocacy. After joining the Advocacy Brigade, watch your inbox for the ASPCA’s invitations to events in your area.
Make a New Year’s resolution to get involved and be a strong voice for animals!
Here at the ASPCA, we’ve hit the ground running in 2015. But as we move forward, we’d like to take a look back at some of the benchmarks we set in 2014. “We saved and protected an extraordinary number of animals in 2014, but couldn’t have done it without the backing of our supporters,” says ASPCA President and CEO, Matt Bershadker. “It inspires us to continue working hard to help even more animals, people and communities in the coming year and beyond.”
From coast to coast, we helped more animals than ever before. Here are a few of the highlights: