Many of us dread filing our taxes—and understandably so. But as you navigate through complicated forms and piles of receipts, be aware that some states offer their citizens a chance to help animals at tax time. Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma, UtahandVirginia have statewide spay/neuter programs that are funded by a voluntary income tax check-off. Contributing part of your tax return toward providing low-cost spay/neuter surgeries to needy dogs and cats is a great way to help animals in your community!
Animal advocates lobbied hard to pass the laws that created these voluntary tax check-offs, but in order for the programs to be successful and continue, taxpayers have to take advantage of the opportunity to dedicate a small portion of their tax return to spay/neuter services. If you live in one of the states listed above, click on it to find out how to contribute when you file!
Connecticut State Representative Brenda Kupchick (right) speaks at Voices for Animals Day.
When Brenda Kupchick’s son was nine years old, he begged her for a puppy. Eventually, she gave in and purchased a female beagle at a pet shop. “Over the next 12 years, that dog cost us $16,000 in vet bills,” admits Kupchick, now a Connecticut state representative. “Not only did she cost us a lot of money, but a lot of heartache, as well.”
Rep. Kupchick, along with Rep. Auden Grogins, spoke at the ASPCA’s Connecticut Voices for Animals Day in Hartford on February 21, using the forum to renew their support for a state law that would address the inhumane treatment of dogs in the commercial breeding facilities—commonly known as puppy mills—that supply animals to Connecticut pet shops.
ASPCA-sponsored lobby days like Connecticut Voices for Animals Day give animal lovers like you the chance to meet your elected officials and tell them, in person, that you support animal protection and oppose laws that would allow animals to be hurt and exploited. Of the 31 animal advocates in attendance at Connecticut Voices for Animals Day, many were lobbying for their first time. Lisa King felt the trip was “absolutely worth it.”
“I had a nice conversation with an aide to my state senator,” Lisa said. She also left behind a personal note for Senator Cathy Osten. “It’s important for them to realize that people who vote for them have these concerns.”
We have several animal-welfare state lobbying events coming up: registration is currently open for Massachusetts, Florida, Michigan, Ohio and New Jersey, and details will soon be posted for Illinois and New York.
Stacey Doan of Protectors of Animals, Inc., Maya, a Chow Chow up for adoption, and Rep. Brenda Kupchick welcome a group of seventh and eighth graders from Cesar A. Batalla School in Bridgeport to Connecticut Voices for Animals Day.
You may have heard a lot of talk about Idaho recently, and it’s no small potatoes. Idaho’s governor, C.L. “Butch” Otter, recently signed into law a controversial anti-whistleblower “ag-gag” bill that punishes those who expose abusive conditions on factory farms. Though Governor Otter claims this law will keep agriculture producers “secure in their property,” we, and countless others concerned about the welfare of animals, are extremely concerned about the greater implications of ag-gag.
In passing this bill, Idaho became the seventh state to enact an ag-gag law. By effectively closing out journalists, investigators, and even the general public from animal production facilities, the agribusiness industry can continue to keep consumers in the dark about where their food is coming from.
We have seen countless instances of abuse on industrial farms, including the recent case of a Wisconsin dairy farm that produces cheese for the frozen pizza brand DiGiorno. Undercover footage taken by Mercy For Animals caught workers at this farm viciously kicking, stabbing, beating, and dragging cows, and the footage led to 11 charges of criminal animal cruelty. Without such footage, we may never have known of these horrors, and because of ag-gag laws, we may never learn of countless other, similar instances.
Great news! President Obama’s newly released FY 2015 budget proposal once again includes a request for Congress to block spending by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to inspect U.S. horse slaughter plants. If adopted, this prohibition would effectively ban horse slaughter on U.S. soil through September 2015 because only USDA-inspected meat can be sold for human consumption.
The President’s request reflects the will of the Congress, whose FY 2014 spending bill, passed in January, included the same language. (The inspection-defund language was initially introduced in the House and Senate by Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) as an amendment to the FY 2014 Agriculture appropriations bill.) However, the FY 2014 spending bill expires this September, which is why it’s critical to get the measure extended via the FY 2015 budget.
“We are grateful to the White House and USDA for their continued leadership in ensuring that American horses are not slaughtered on our own soil for foreign demand, especially in light of the recent news from Europe about the horrors of discovering horse meat mixed with frozen lasagna and other meat products,” says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. “Wasting tax dollars on the cruelty of horse slaughter makes no sense, and we urge Congress to once again adopt this provision.”
Help us ensure that Capitol Hill hears the message to protect our horses, both here and abroad! The pro-slaughter industry will lobby intensely against this newest effort to prohibit federal dollars from being spent on horse slaughter, and our goal is to stop all American horses from experiencing the horrors of slaughter wherever it occurs, so we must continue to press for passage of the SAFE Act to ban horse slaughter permanently.
Of the 21 active dog tracks in the U.S., more than half (12) are in Florida. Florida law requires dog tracks to report all racing-related deaths, and an analysis of these death notifications from 2013 reveals that on average, a Greyhound died from racing-related injuries every three days in Florida last year.
With assistance from the ASPCA, Greyhound protection group GREY2K USA created a report, “The Final Lap,” that summarizes last year’s devastating deaths at Florida’s tracks. The report was released today at a joint press conference held in Tallahassee, during which ASPCA Vice President of State Affairs Ann Church and several state legislators called for the passage of a bill to protect Greyhounds.
Watch GREY2K USA’s new video on dog racing in Florida:
If you live in Florida, you can help—please visit aspca.org/FLgreyhounds to urge state lawmakers to eliminate the mandate that requires gaming facilities to hold dog races.