In late March, the ASPCA assisted federal authorities in a three-state dog fighting raid and the removal of 100 canine victims. Tim Rickey, Vice President of the ASPCA’s Field Investigations & Response team, has been on the front lines of this operation since the beginning. Here's his report about the remarkable sheltering facility that has been created to care for the dogs involved in this case.
We're pleased to report that the dogs are being very well cared for while in the custody of the ASPCA. The ASPCA’s Animal Cruelty Behavior team has been in the field from day one to oversee the animals' enrichment, socialization and exercise to ensure that these dogs are receiving all the care and attention they deserve.
The dogs are housed individually in a pod system. The kennels surround a 20x20 exercise area that the dogs have access to based on a carefully designed plan by the exercise coordinator. The exercise coordinator works in tandem with the behavior program to ensure the dogs enjoy adequate time outside their kennels several times a day.
The environment is relaxed and quiet with a strong focus on enrichment. There is very little barking, a strong indication the animals are not feeling stressed during their recovery. Responders go in to provide daily human socialization and interaction, and provide them with enrichment items like toys, treats and lots of love.
Every effort is made to keep the dogs focused so they don't become bored, which can lead to destructive behavior. We have observed that the dogs are responding very well, becoming trained to enjoy their playtime, learning to cooperate, and adjusting to human contact.
Stay tuned to ASPCA.org for updates on this ongoing rescue.
Hey, New Yorkers: Let’s hear it for our state’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman! Today he announced the Animal Protection Initiative, a new program that will use civil and criminal remedies to target allegations of animal cruelty and unscrupulous sales of pets and other animals in New York.
The initiative aims to protect both animals and people in the state by shutting down animal fighting rings, ensuring compliance with New York's Pet Lemon Law, charging those who abuse or neglect animals, and cracking down on puppy mills.
Our attorney general has long been a friend of the animals. In fact, today he announced that his office has reached a settlement with the owner of a Yonkers pet store that was keeping animals in unsafe and inhuman conditions, requiring him to take several actions to greatly improve animal care at his store. This outcome is just the latest in a string recent animal welfare victories the attorney general has won.
“We are thankful to Attorney General Schneiderman for his persistent leadership in combating some of the worst forms of animal cruelty and protecting both the animals and people of New York State,” says Stacy Wolf, Vice President and Chief Counsel of the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement and Legal Advocacy departments. “The new Animal Protection Initiative sends a clear message that perpetrators who engage in animal cruelty will be held accountable for their actions.”
Thank you for standing up for animals, Attorney General Schneiderman!
We are thrilled to share with you that on Monday, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), David Vitter (R-LA) introduced the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act in the U.S. Senate.
This legislation, which is also being considered in the House, would make it a federal offense to attend an organized animal fight and impose additional penalties for bringing a child to a fight.
The Senate passed identical legislation during the last session of Congress, so we have high hopes that it will do so again—but we need your help! The bill didn’t become law last year because it stalled in the House, even with over half the House supporting it. We need to remind all Members of Congress that protecting animals from barbaric fighting ventures is important to their constituents.
Ask your two U.S. senators to support and cosponsor this important anti-fighting legislation! Please visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to send a quick email to your senators—as well as to your representative in the U.S. House—urging them to make this the year that we finally close a major loophole in our federal animal cruelty law.
In late March, the ASPCA played a critical role in a three-state dog fighting raid that resulted in the rescue of nearly 100 animals. A few weeks after this intricately coordinated effort to rescue dogs in Texas, Missouri and Kansas went off without a hitch, we’re able to update you on the dogs and the dog fighters.
When we found these dogs, many were doomed to live their whole lives tethered by heavy chains—and on the day of the raid, many were left outside to suffer through a blizzard. Now, says ASPCA Vice President of Field Investigations and Response Tim Rickey, they’re living in an entirely different world.
When the dogs arrived at our temporary shelter, our veterinary professionals, led by the ASPCA’s Dr. Sarah Kirk, examined them quickly and thoroughly. Some dogs needed immediate care, while others require ongoing treatment which they are now receiving from ASPCA and local veterinarians.
An ASPCA behaviorist will be on the ground at the shelter throughout this operation, and while the dogs stay in our clean and spacious shelter, they will benefit from behavioral enrichment programs that incorporate toys, games and lots of fun interactions with people. The dogs will have regular access to one of several large exercise playpens, where they’ll get to play with our responders and burn off excess doggy energy.
“Every day,” Rickey says, “we’re focusing on taking care of these animals and providing the best environment that we can for them.”
The ASPCA continues to work to collect evidence and provide other support to law enforcement, working to ensure dog fighters pay for harming these animal victims. The charges are just starting to roll in:
Last week Pete Davis Jr. and Melvin L. Robinson, both of Kansas City, Kansas, were each charged in federal court with one count of transporting animals for participation in an animal fighting venture in interstate commerce. If convicted, they face up to five years in federal prison and a possible fine of up to $250,000.
“The case is not over yet—there’s still a lot of work to be done on the investigation side,” says Rickey, adding that he hopes to see more arrests in relation to this raid.
The ASPCA had been assisting the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies with the planning of this large-scale raid since November 2012. ASPCA Blood Sports Director Terry Mills provided his expertise to help these agencies maximize the operation’s impact. Our next steps: continuing to provide top-notch care for these animals and working with authorities to secure the right to place dogs in loving homes.
If you’ve given to the ASPCA recently, from the bottom of our hearts: thank you. This raid is an enormous undertaking and a huge commitment, but we are dedicated to being there for animal victims of cruelty whenever they need us. If you haven’t yet given lately, please consider doing so today. On behalf of animals across the country, thank you!
Mother Nature wasn’t on our side when she sent a deadly blizzard to hammer Kansas and Missouri earlier this week. The heavy snow snapped tree branches and left more than 100,000 Midwesterners without power. At least two deaths were blamed on the off-season storm.
“The weather certainly wasn’t ideal, but we weren’t about to give up on these dogs,” reports Tim Rickey, Vice President of the ASPCA Field Investigations & Response team. “It’s our job to provide these animals with the best possible care, and our responders are trained to handle obstacles as they arise.”
The dogs were rescued after search warrants were executed by the FBI in Kansas,Missouri and Texas. The animals were found outside in freezing temperatures.
For more information about this unfolding case, please stay tuned to aspcarescue.org.