Welcome to The Paw Print! In this new recurring feature, we’ll be highlighting the latest news affecting animals and animal-lovers around the country. Here are some of the top stories right now:
Purina® Under Fire: A lawsuit filed in California last week claims that Beneful®—one of Purina’s most popular dog food brands—is responsible for the death of thousands of dogs. The lawsuit claims that a specific ingredient called propylene glycol is the suspected cause of canine illness and death, though a spokesperson for Purina has called the suit “without merit.” Do you feed your pets Purina? Share your thoughts below!
Missing Dog Goes Viral: When a New York City woman’s pit bull mix, Sugar, went missing last week, she turned to the Internet for help. The hashtag #FindSugarNYC went viral as thousands of people shared the story. If you have any information about Sugar, call (917)-796-0171.
Duggar Clan Causes Outrage: The Duggar family—from the popular TV show 19 Kids and Counting—outraged animal-lovers this week when they published an Instagram video that appeared to show cruelty toward a cat. Derick Dillard, the husband of Jill Duggar, was sledding down a hill when he allegedly steered into the unsuspecting feline.
Humane Pet Food Headed to US: Pet food brand Open Farm® has partnered with nonprofit Humane Farm Animal Care® to bring Certified Humane pet food to the U.S for the first time. To receive this certification, Open Farm will use only meat and poultry products in its pet foods that come from Certified Humane farms. Are humane practices something you factor into your own pet food purchases?
The Future of Zoos: A story published by Fast Company® delves into the future of zoos—with an emphasis placed on the wellbeing of the animals over the experience of visitors. Do you think it’s time for zoos to get a makeover?
Toefu was one of 76 dogs rescued from the home of a hoarder in Tennessee in 2010. The dogs were found living in horrific filth, with fumes of ammonia and animal waste strong enough to send one rescuer to the hospital. All of the dogs were desperate for freedom; Toefu was number 16.
After their rescue, the animals were taken to a local shelter where they were treated for a variety of issues. It was there that ASPCA Animal Behaviorist Kristen Collins first spotted Toefu. Likely inbred, Toefu had an underbite, extra toes, and had never before experienced life outside of the hoarder’s home. Kristin adopted her and spent the next year helping the sweet spaniel overcome a lifetime of anxiety, fear and neglect.
In 2013, Kristin and her dogs moved to Madison, New Jersey, where Kristin began overseeing the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center—the first and only facility dedicated to the behavioral rehabilitation of canine victims of cruelty. It was there that Toefu discovered her true calling: helper dog.
This past week, dog breeders and owners came together in New York City to celebrate their definition of “best dog” in several categories at the nation's most famous dog show. One of those categories, introduced in 2014, allows mixed-breed animals to compete amongst their pure-bred counterparts in an agility contest. This year, 15 mixed-breed dogs were among the 330 dogs competing in the agility category. It’s a small but important step in the right direction.
In that direction, all dogs are celebrated, regardless of their lineage, circumstances, condition, or residence. This also means committing time and energy to animals with the fewest advantages—not the most advantages— including millions of homeless dogs across the country in desperate situations.
We’ve been traveling this path for nearly 150 years, and now it has its own “competition”: Best in Shelter with Jill Rappaport, an NBC special airingon NBC owned television stations and NECN on February 21. The ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City is proudly participating, and three ASPCA-adopted dogs will be featured.
Created and hosted by journalist and animal advocate Jill Rappaport, Best in Shelter with Jill Rappaport documents her year-long search for remarkable shelter dog contestants, focusing on hard-to-adopt animals such as pit pulls, older animals and animals with disabilities. While the program ultimately declares “winners,” all of the selected animals find loving homes.
Several celebrities have signed up to lend a hand, including Betty White, Bernadette Peters, Bryant Gumbel, Lindsey Vonn and Emmylou Harris. But the big goal of this project—more so than crowning a champion—is spreading the idea that “best” dogs are everywhere…and they’re waiting for you at your local shelter.
Many of these animals came to shelters as the result of family changes such as death, illness, divorce or relocation. Some owners simply lost the financial means to care for their pets, while other owners abused them to such an extent that the animals had to be saved and seized by police.
Whatever their situation, these animals are innocent victims of human circumstance, and their rescue is in all of our hands. Let’s double our efforts to adopt animals in need and urge others to do the same.
Approximately 250 detectives, investigator supervisors and precinct special operations lieutenants gathered at the Police Academy in College Point, New York, to hear from our expert staff about topics including animal cruelty laws, forensic investigation, hoarding, blood sports and more. The day began at 7:00 A.M. with introductions from Sergeant Barbara A. Thomas of the NYPD’s Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad (ACIS) and the ASPCA’s Howard Lawrence, Senior Director of Operations, ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Group.
This training is part of an ongoing series meant to educate NYPD officers on key issues related to their expanded role and the resources the ASPCA provides for them. This was the second such training so far; the first was held in October 2014. The ASPCA will conduct additional trainings throughout the coming year with a cross section of relevant NYPD and NY City departments.