ASPCA President & CEO Matthew Bershadker (right) on location at a dog fighting bust earlier this year.
By ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker
The holidays are a big distraction this time of year, but all the more reason to keep our eyes on the ball – and in this case, on neglected horses in need.
As you may know, in November, our Field Investigations and Response (FIR) Team traveled to Spokane, Washington, to assist Spokane County Regional Animal Protective Services (SCRAPS) with the sheltering and daily care of 63 horses seized as part of an animal cruelty investigation.
So while many of us were celebrating Thanksgiving, the FIR team was on the ground helping to provide continuing care for these severely neglected animals (among many ASPCA staffers on the job that day). Sixty-two of the horses are responding well to treatment and are in recovery, while one, sadly, did not survive.
The negligent owner is still missing; a hearing to determine custody of the horses will be held on December 16. But our priority continues to be the health and welfare of these animals. We can’t undo their suffering, but with your support we can show them care and love, and put them on a brighter path.
Rescuing this many large animals is, of course, no easy task. So my big thanks go to SCRAPS, to the ASPCA field teams who put these horses before their own holidays, and to you as well for making such important work possible.
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This story begins when Vanessa Jacobs, a licensed veterinary technician at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, spotted a young cat on a rooftop. Vanessa was concerned that the cat was stuck on the roof. She threw food down to the cat, and notified her coworkers at the ASPCA’s Animal Hospital.
Michelle Falcon, the Hospital’s Internal Medicine Department Manager and “cat wrangler extraordinaire,” rushed to the location. Once at the site, Michelle and Vanessa met up with NYC Animal Care & Control Field Supervisor Kevin Sexton, who gained access to a nearby building to survey the roof. But there was no cat to be found.
The assembled group conferred: Perhaps the little cat had climbed down via a nearby tree? But Vanessa was worried–she really felt the cat had been in distress. That’s when the FDNY got involved. Gallant firefighters from the local firehouse used their ladder to climb up to the roof and conduct a thorough search.
A firefighter’s sharp eyes spotted the maiden in distress. She was crouched behind a ledge with big frightened eyes. Her knight in firefighting gear gently lifted her into a carrier and delivered her safely to those waiting below.
Next stop: the ASPCA! The now-safe feline waif was assessed by the medical staff at the ASPCA’s headquarters on 92nd Street in Manhattan. Dr. Anna Whitehead performed a thorough exam and blood work, and found the kitten to be around six months old, dehydrated and much too thin, with fleas and ear mites, but otherwise healthy. The sweet kitten, thrilled to be in caring hands, purred gratefully. She was treated with intravenous fluids and anti-parasite medications, dewormed, vaccinated, and given plenty of nutritious food.
After a few days of hydration, square meals, and plenty of pampering, “Vanessa,” as she had been dubbed in honor of the persistent technician who saved her life, was pronounced ready to move to the ASPCA’s Adoption Center and await that special family to start the next chapter of her life! Our guess is that Vanessa has had more than her share of excitement, and will be happy to be a lap kitty for the rest of her days.
Interested in adopting our brave Vanessa? Please call the ASPCA Adoption Centerat (212) 876-7700, ext. 4120. To make an appointment at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, please fill out this formor contact us at (646) 259-4080.
On March 24, the ASPCA assisted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Attorney’s Office and local law enforcement agencies in a federal dog fighting raid that resulted in the seizure of nearly 100 dogs from multiple properties in Missouri, Kansas and Texas.
Yesterday, at a federal court in Kansas, justice was served. Two individuals connected with last March’s raid learned that they would serve time in prison, pay large fines and perform community service for their roles in the illegal enterprise.
Pete Davis Jr., 38, was sentenced to 16 months in prison and Melvin Robinson, 42, was sentenced to 10 months after pleading guilty to charges related to dog fighting. Davis and Robinson were also ordered to perform 50 hours of community service and pay $430,919 to the ASPCA for the care of the dogs seized. Both Davis and Robinson are also banned from owning dogs for three years following their sentences.
“The ASPCA is proud to have helped secure justice for the dogs involved in this case,” says Tim Rickey, Vice President of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “Thanks to the persistence of the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office and Missouri State Highway Patrol, these individuals are finally answering for the suffering they caused these dogs. Dog fighting is a horrific crime, and we encourage the public to continue to report suspected dog fighting activities to local authorities.”
Zack was one of about 150 Jack Russell Terriers and Shiba Inus we rescued from a Michigan puppy mill earlier this year. After rescue, he needed surgery on his eyes—but he also needed extensive behavior help.
ASPCA behavior expert Kristen Collins was at the rescue to help remove dogs from the property, and she noticed Zack right away. He shook violently as he crouched in terror, his eyes wide. When Collins approached his enclosure, he bolted for the broken crate that was his only shelter from the elements.
"He looked like the most fearful dog on the property," Collins remembers. She knew Zack's best hope was intensive treatment at our Rehab Center for puppy mill and hoarding survivors.
When Zack arrived at the Rehab Center, his behavior was no different than the first time Collins saw him quake with fear at her approach. He cowered in the back of his space, ears flat and body low. And yet—after a few days, though he remained skeptical about human touch, Zack began to tentatively wag his tail at the sight of familiar people.
Today, Zack has been adopted and is part of a loving family. We wanted to show you the amazing progress Zack made during his time with us—please watch his video below.
On Friday night, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 aired a special segment from our temporary facility for the hundreds of dogs rescued in last month’s massive dog fighting bust. The ASPCA, along with responders from The Humane Society of the United States and other response groups, assisted with the removal of nearly 400 dogs, and we are now providing care and behavior enrichment in a temporary shelter at an undisclosed location.
Get an inside look of the dogs on their road to recovery with CNN’s Gary Tuchman and an interview with ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker.
With your support, we’ll continue to provide the rescued dogs with the extensive attention they so desperately need. Stay tuned to aspcarescue.org for more news to come.