Conducting a dog fight is a felony in all 50 states, but to truly crack down on this despicable blood sport, states need to pass laws giving law enforcement more tools to catch these criminals and deter this cruel activity. In recent months we’ve seen great legislative opportunities squandered, so we must redouble our efforts to raise awareness.
It is illegal in 49 states to own dogs for the purpose of fighting. Sadly, this past March the Kentucky Legislature failed to pass a bill that would have brought the Bluegrass State in line with the rest of the country, perpetuating its dishonorable distinction as a haven for dog fighters.
Similarly, 49 states have made it illegal to be a spectator at a dog fight, but earlier this week, April 7, Montana legislators voted down legislation that would have made it a crime to be a spectator at an animal fight. If you live in Montana, see how your state senator voted, and in honor of National Dog Fighting Awareness Day, please politely let him/her know how you feel about their vote (a Yes was a vote in support of this bill to strengthen penalties for dog fighting).
No matter where you live, it is critically important to raise awareness about dog fighting—as heinous an activity as it is, lawmakers around the country still need to receive the message. Please join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade and we’ll let you know when anti-fighting bills are under consideration in your state.
Even though we work to prevent cruelty to animals all year long, April is special at the ASPCA because it is officially Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month! Every year, we ask supporters to celebrate this month by helping us raise awareness about important issues facing animals—and we hope that you’ll join in! We’ve come up with some exciting ways you can get involved and make a difference all month long:
Start a Fundraising Campaign Create a personal ASPCA fundraising page for an important event in your life and share it with your friends and family. Whether you donate your birthday, honor the memory of a beloved pet or decide to run a 5k with Team ASPCA, the money you raise can make a big difference for animals in need nationwide.
Commemorate Dog Fighting Awareness Tuesday, April 8, marks our second annual National Dog Fighting Awareness Day. The ASPCA designated this day to advance the conversation about dog fighting and to encourage animal-lovers across the country to take action against this brutal form of cruelty. This year, you can add your voice to the cause by joining our Get Tough campaign.
Make Adoption Your First Option Bringing a four-legged friend into your family? Shelters have lovable dogs and cats of all shapes, sizes and ages who are looking for a good home, so please make adoption your first choice. Check out our nationwide database of dogs and cats who are looking for good homes.
Show Your Support Online During April, use Your Facebook page, Twitter account or blog to spread the word about Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month—and be sure to tag us at @ASPCA in your posts! If you don’t already, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Smitty is a four-year-old Pit Bull who was brought to the ASPCA on October 14. Found by a Good Samaritan in the Bronx, New York, Smitty was suffering from first- and second-degree burns that covered nearly half of his body. Despite the severity of his burns—and his apparent pain—Smitty had a wonderful disposition.
At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Smitty was in the ICU for six weeks where doctors managed his pain and changed his bandages regularly. During the early stages of his treatment, Smitty’s wounds were still so painful and fresh that he had to be sedated during bandage changes. Despite it all, his happy attitude and sweet nature never wavered.
ASPCA veterinarians removed dead tissue and skin so new tissue could grow in, and after six weeks, Smitty no longer required bandaging. His fur is growing back in patches, but it’s likely that he will have scars for the rest of his life. Smitty knows how to sit and fetch, and is very playful and active. After a long, hard journey, he is now available for adoption—hoping for a forever home just in time for Christmas.
The ASPCA is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case of a deceased cat discovered inside a cooler with a rope tied around its neck on September 2 in Lee County, Florida.
The female gray-and-white tabby was found by a resident on the side of the road on Elva Avenue in Lehigh Acres, according to Lee County Domestic Animal Services, which is leading the investigation. The cat appears to have been strangled.
“This is a truly sickening case of animal cruelty, and the heartlessness demonstrated by those responsible is shocking,” said Stacy Wolf, senior vice president of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group. “While our ultimate hope is that this type of heinous act never occurs, this is a message that cruelty to animals will not be tolerated in our society. We thank Lee County Domestic Animal Services for its commitment to finding justice for this animal.”
Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Lee County Domestic Animal Services by calling 239-533-7387, ext. 2 or Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS. Lee County Domestic Animal Services accepts anonymous information.
Please be vigilant in your community and report suspected abuse. Visit our Fight Cruelty page to learn which agencies are responsible for investigating and enforcing anti-cruelty laws in your area.
The ASPCA and the New York City Police Department are reporting significant progress in the fight against animal cruelty since January 1, when the NYPD took the lead role in responding to all animal cruelty complaints in NYC and the ASPCA expanded its direct care support for its victims.
Through June 30, there were 70 arrests and nearly 200 animals rescued and treated by the ASPCA, an increase of nearly 160% and 180%, respectively, over the same period last year.
The record-breaking increases are a result of accelerated and widened police responses to alleged animal abuse complaints, as well as the ASPCA’s increased direct care support for animal cruelty victims, including medical treatment, behavior assessments and rehabilitation, and housing and placement.
“The clear success of this partnership underscores the incredible impact that can be achieved when law enforcement and animal welfare groups collaborate,” says Matthew Bershadker, President and Chief Executive Officer of the ASPCA.
“We are protecting some of New York City’s most vulnerable residents by enforcing laws against animal cruelty,” says Police Commissioner William J. Bratton. “The NYPD will continue this extremely worthwhile partnership with the ASCPA, and we look forward to our continued success.”
The ASPCA has increased our assistance to law enforcement officials in the form of forensics work, comprehensive legal services, field assistance, and ongoing training and educational materials for officers. All eight NYPD patrol boroughs, several detective boroughs, the Housing Bureau, the Transit Bureau, and the Legal Bureau—as well as a number of assistant district attorneys—have been trained by ASPCA staff with extensive NYPD or New York City prosecutorial experience.