The Maryland Legislature passed three great bills for animals this year, and we are thrilled to report that Governor Martin O’Malley has now signed all of them into state law! The new laws establish a statewide spay/neuter fund; close a loophole in Maryland’s animal fighting law by adding a prohibition on “baiting”; and prohibit the sale and possession of shark fins.
Maryland will soon have one of the most robustly funded statewide spay/neuter programs in the country. As outlined in the Spring 2013 issue of our members’ magazine ASPCA Action, the new program will be funded by a small surcharge on commercial pet food brands registered in the state, and is expected to generate approximately $1 million annually by 2016. This small fee on pet food will have almost no effect on pet parents, but a huge, positive impact on efforts to manage pet overpopulation in Maryland.
“This innovative spay/neuter program is one of the most important victories for animals in many years,” says Ann Church, ASPCA Vice President of State Affairs. “This legislation should be used as a model for other states to adopt similar provisions, and we applaud the many local animal shelters and humane groups who worked together to make this new program a reality.”
Inspired by this big win in Maryland? Visit our Advocacy Center to find out you can take action for animals in your state, and share this post on Twitter with the hashtag #TakeAction.
For those of us on the East Coast, the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 is still present and fresh on our minds. And most recently, persistent flooding in the Midwest has wreaked havoc on the lives of humans and pets alike. It’s important for pet parents in all parts of the country to be prepared to act in the face of a disaster—and that includes having an emergency plan in place for your pets.
That’s one of the reasons why we joined FEMA to recognize May 8 as National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day. We hope you’ll take this opportunity to learn more about the ways you can keep your furry friends safe in an emergency. Here are a few easy steps you can take:
1. Have a Plan. Your “all-family” plan needs to include how you will transport your animals in an evacuation, possible routes you will take and your destination/sheltering options. Practice that plan at least yearly and share it with your family and friends.
2. Build a Kit. Don’t forget a photo of your pet, medical records, vaccination records, and any special food or prescriptions.
3. Stay Informed. Keep an eye on the weather, follow a projected storm’s path and don’t get caught unprepared. Staying informed also means knowing which shelters house both people and pets, monitoring possible road closures and having alternate travel plans.
4. Know Your Neighbors. It’s best to form a relationship with your neighbors well in advance of a disaster situation.Develop a telephone tree and determine who is home and when. If a disaster occurs while you’re at work, your neighbor may be the only one who can reach your pets.
5. Vaccinate and Microchip. If you’re ever required to shelter your pets, you’ll want them protected against disease. And the single most important piece of advice we can offer is to microchip your pets. It is truly their ticket home.
Warm, spring weather means more than just tulips and tubetops. It’s flea and tick season! In addition to just being plain uncomfortable, fleas and ticks can cause some serious health problems for our furry friends. Ticks on pets can also transmit Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever to humans. Ick!
These little parasites are tough to fight, but the ASPCA is here to help. Check out our top five tips for keeping your pets itch-free this spring.
1. Fleas and ticks LOVE long grass and shady outdoor spots. Ensure a pest-free lawn by mowing regularly, removing tall weeds and making it inhospitable to common tick hosts, including rodents, by keeping garbage covered and inaccessible.
2. Talk to your vet about choosing the right, species-specific flea and tick treatment for your pet such as a topical, liquid insecticide applied to the back of the neck. PetArmor, the official flea and tick sponsor of the ASPCA, is one option.
3. Never use products for dogs on cats, and vice versa. If you accidentally apply the wrong topical treatment to your pet, please call our poison control hotline (888-426-4435) asap.
4. Treat all of your petsfor fleas, not just those who show outward signs of infestation.
5. During warmer months, it’s also a good idea to check your pet for ticks. If you do spot a tick, take care when removing it to avoid spreading disease.
Spring Cleaning: Empty out the dark corners of your closets, basement and attic, but before throwing your dusty treasures away, call your local shelters and ask if they need old towels, bedding, leashes, litter boxes and pet toys.
The Power of Poop: Scoop dog poop with biodegradable bags instead of plastic bags from the grocery store. If you’re a suburbanite (or an urbanite with a lawn), do some research on doggie septic systems—they help keep your lawn free of smelly surprises and break waste down into a liquid the ground can absorb.
Garden of Delights: If you have space, consider growing your own garden for your fruit- and veggie- loving reptiles and small mammals. Before using insecticides, research mulching and other gardening practices that can help reduce the amount of insecticides and herbicides you might need.
Spot On: Should your furry love leave a little dribble (or more) on the carpeting or floor, don’t reach for the bleach. Use vinegar instead. This environment-friendly liquid can act as an effective odor-remover and can kill mold and bacteria.
Cut Back: There are plenty of small ways to cut back on energy and materials. Instead of using a blow dryer to dry your freshly bathed pet, towel or air dry her. Walk your dog to the doggie park rather than driving there. Or cut down on paper products—clean up with rags or recycled paper towels.
Are you doing something special for Earth Day? Tell us about it in the comments!
What’s in your Easter basket? Whether you’re celebrating Easter, Passover or the arrival of daffodils, it’s time to show our pets some extra love by keeping them safe from seasonal hazards. Here are a few ASPCA tips for a pet-safe spring!
• Beware of Easter lilies—they can be fatal if consumed by our furry friends. We recommend leaving lilies out of Easter baskets destined for homes with cats, or using safer flower varieties as substitutes. Some pretty alternatives include Easter orchids, cacti and daisies, as well as roses and violets.
• Keep candy bunnies in check—chocolate goodies are toxic to cats, dogs and ferrets. And any treats containing xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in many candies, chewing gum and baked goods—may be toxic, too!
• Decorations, especially Easter tinsel, may look festive but can be dangerous. Kitties love to nibble on plastic grass, which can lead to serious health issues.
• Baby chicks and rabbits are not Easter gifts. While these festive babies are adorable, resist the urge to buy; they grow up fast and often require specialized care. Thousands of ex-Easter bunnies and chicks are abandoned each year when their novelty wears off.