Domestic pigeons and doves can make wonderful pets and are often available for adoption, but tend to be overlooked by a cat- and dog-focused public.
In areas such as San Francisco, King pigeons are bred for meat (squab) and sold at live-food markets. Although some of them escape or are set free by well-meaning individuals, they can’t survive on their own in the wild and often fall prey to other animals, illness or injury. To make matters worse – when they do wind up in an animal shelter, their chances of finding homes are poor.
In celebration of National Bird Day (January 5), and in support of organizations providing sanctuary or rescuing and rehoming homeless pet birds, the ASPCA issued a special call for proposals to improve the welfare of birds at risk and to save more lives. A total of $30,000 in avian rescue grants was awarded nationwide. Among the recipients of these grants was the San Francisco-based MickaCoo Pigeon & Dove Rescue, which received $5,000 that allowed the group to rehabilitate and rehome 20 at-risk domestic pigeons and doves. Several of the birds who had bonded as pairs were even more fortunate to be adopted into the same home together.
MickaCoo Founder and Executive Director Elizabeth Young has been working tirelessly to support these overlooked and underserved birds since 2007. She initially didn’t intend to become a pigeon rescuer, but says that when she started volunteering at an animal shelter she saw that “while all the other animals had various rescues and nonprofits working on their behalf, the King pigeons didn't. King pigeons are calm and very adaptable,” Young explains. “They're alert but not prone to panic. Their energy level is much lower than that of parrots and they tend to have really great leisure skills – lounging and napping and watching more than being busy.”
An ASPCA avian grant isn’t all that MickaCoo has to crow about – in November 2013 it received the GreatNonprofits 2013 “Top-Rated Nonprofit” Award in the category of animal-welfare organizations in San Francisco. Less than 1 percent of nonprofits nationwide are eligible for this award.
More About MickaCoo
The MickaCoo volunteer network responds to calls from shelters, vets, and the public to provide care for ill or injured birds, long-term foster care, and assistance in preparing and placing adoptable birds into qualified forever homes. MickaCoo foster volunteers care for a caseload of approximately 100 birds at any given time.
Max, a former champion living in Arizona, was healthy and happy before his owner was forced to give him up.
As the deadly snow storms that have already hit the Great Plains illustrate, winter is coming. It won't be long before much of the country is buried under a blanket of white.
This is the time of year equine rescues, sanctuaries, and community hay banks serving needy horse owners stock up on hay for the entire winter. The ASPCA assists these groups through grants made possible by our members’ compassion and generosity, ensuring that horses don't suffer and starve.
One such group is the Arizona Coalition for Equines (ACE), which received a $3,000 grant from the ASPCA in November 2012. These are just a few of the lives ACE was able to touch with that funding:
Slammed by foreclosure on her home and forced to move after the death of her mother, a woman living on disability ran out of money to feed her two horses. She turned to ACE for a helping hand, saying she would rather feed her horses than herself. ACE responded with a month’s worth of hay and settled her unpaid feed bill, giving her time to get back on her feet. Her horses remain in excellent condition.
A disabled veteran on a fixed income asked ACE for help when his horse became unable to walk. Sometimes feeding his horses before himself, he was desperate to get veterinary care but unable to pay the upfront costs. With ACE assistance, a veterinarian did a complete examination and diagnosed thrush, a front hoof abscess and a possible pelvic injury. Treatment provided immediate relief.
The greatest success story belongs to Max, a 30-year-old former champion show horse (pictured) who had been owner-released to a commercial stable due to financial hardship. His former owner was devastated when he went to visit Max months later and found him close to death—he had been left to starve. The man reached out to ACE, which rescued Max and covered the cost of his foster care until a new forever home was found.
Great news! We’re excited to announce that the ASPCA has teamed up with Best Friends Animal Society to help save more shelter animals’ lives in Los Angeles this holiday season.
The ASPCA has pledged $70,000 and Best Friends has contributed $50,000 to offset Los Angeles shelter costs including vaccinations, micro-chipping and spay/neuter procedures through the end of 2013. As a result, these animal welfare groups will have increased capacity to bring in, care for and adopt out animals from overcrowded city shelters.
Our contribution will cover fees for LA Animal Services’ New Hope Partners, qualified 501(c)(3) organizations that meet a basic set of standards set by the City of Los Angeles Animal Services. Best Friends will cover fees for those New Hope Partners that are also partners in the No Kill Los Angeles (NKLA) Coalition, a Best Friends’ initiative launched in 2012.
It is our goal to help find forever homes for many more cats and dogs in Los Angeles in the coming months, and we’re excited to be a part of this innovative collaboration.
When Benny’s pet parent brought him to Blue Pearl, a New York City veterinary clinic that provides overnight emergency animal care, he was in rough shape. This poor Brooklyn pup had serious injuries, and it seemed likely he had been hit by a car. The owners were going through a difficult time financially and could not afford the cost of the emergency care. They were heartbroken and appealed to Blue Pearl for assistance. Blue Pearl was able to provide subsidized care for Benny overnight, and called the ASPCA in the morning to see if we could help cover the rest of Benny’s medical needs.
With the help of the ASPCA Partners in Caring (PIC) grant, a program that assists low-income pet owners with emergency medical care by providing grants directly to veterinary clinic partners, we were able to provide Benny with the attention he so desperately needed. This brave pup pulled through, and is now recovering at home with his family. We’re so glad we were able to be there for Benny, and that his story has a happy ending.
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It was a heartbreaking sight. Equines left to fend for themselves—bone skinny, and braving harsh summer elements without access to food or water.
The ASPCA Equine Fund recently stepped in to provide an emergency grant of $13,000 to help provide care for 21 donkeys and five Arabian Mares who were abused and abandoned earlier this summer. To make matters more tragic, all five of the Arabian Mares and ten of the donkeys were pregnant, with one donkey actually birthing a foal during their rescue.
“Unfortunately, equine neglect and abuse is widespread in this country,” says Jacque Schultz, ASPCA Senior Director of Community Outreach. “Rescue groups are struggling with increasing calls for help and shrinking budgets. That’s where the ASPCA Equine Fund comes in.”
The funds granted by the ASPCA in this case will be used to rehabilitate the rescued equines and cover expenses for medical treatment, food, transport, and training.
“The ASPCA Equine Fund is vital when it comes to saving lives,” says Floss Blackburn, president of Denkai Animal Sanctuary, the organization that took the animals in. “Without their help, many equine organizations would not be able to fund such large rescue efforts.”