You know what they say: kindness is contagious. That’s why we love Be Kind to Animals Week, which kicks off today! Be Kind to Animals Week is celebrated every year during the first week in May, and this year marks its 99th anniversary. And while we know that you’re kind to animals all year round, this week is a great excuse to get active. Here are four ways you can show your compassion for furry friends everywhere:
Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade: Sign up for the Advocacy Brigade to receive important alerts from the ASPCA. We’ll contact you when we need your help fighting for laws against animal cruelty.
Help Fight Puppy Mills: Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills—large, sub-standard breeding facilities. Help us put puppy mills out of business by pledging not to shop in stores that sell puppies (not even for food or toys!).
Show Your Virtual Support: Spread the word about Be Kind to Animals Week through Facebook, Twitter, or your blog! And if you haven’t already, join us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+ to keep track of breaking animal welfare news.
Volunteer: From walking dogs to fundraising, there are tons of ways you can get involved with your local animal shelter. Even if you can’t make a long-term commitment, consider lending a hand today! We can always use the help.
Now that spring is finally here, it’s time to pack away your sweaters and revisit your spring wardrobe. For those who’d like to do a bit of springtime shopping, you’re in luck—now through Sunday, April 27, clothing retailer Bevello will match all donations to the ASPCA at checkout. Plus, there’s no cap for matching donations, which can be made with online or in-store purchases.
If you bring a photo of your pet to a Bevello store on Saturday, April 26, you’ll receive a complimentary pet treat as well as 15% off your entire purchase. Bevello has more than 20 retail locations throughout the country. Visit the Bevello website to find a store near you.
At four years old, Taco seems like any other dog. He plays with toys, snuggles in bed, and runs around with fellow pups. But if you look closely, you’ll notice that Taco isn’t like most other dogs. He has a limp, a drag in his step that serves as a reminder of all he has been through.
Doctors at our hospital moved into action quickly, only to discover that much of the damage to Taco’s vertebrae was inoperable. Determined to help the 10-pound pup, they began a regimen of intensive care that involved painkillers and a full-body brace—keeping him safe and comfortable until he was strong enough to begin physical therapy.
During his stay at the hospital, Taco received love, attention, and unwavering care, possibly for the first time in his life. Slowly but surely, he regained his mobility. When he was ready, he transferred to our Adoption Center and was quickly adopted into a loving home. Though Taco will always have a limp, his new family tells us that “he is full of energy and life, and he never lets his gait hinder his stride.”
When Vivian adopted Blue from the Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA), she knew nothing of the horrors the nine-month-old pup had endured at the hands of dog fighters. One of 77 dogs rescued in a multi-state dog fighting raid in March 2013, Blue was chained to a stake in the ground, exposed and shivering in blizzard-like conditions, when the ASPCA rescued him. For today’s special video Happy Tail, we traveled to Tucson to catch up with Vivian and Blue.
Vivian W. grew up in New York with all kinds of pets: cats, birds, even rodents. But she never had a dog. When she moved to Arizona last year, she decided that pit bull adoption was at the top of her priority list. On her second day in Tucson, she adopted Blue.
“It was love at first sight,” says Vivian, recalling the moment she met Blue. After spotting his picture online, she was drawn to his striking blue eye (for which he is named), but knew nothing of his past. As she later came to learn, Blue was rescued by the ASPCA in a massive dog fighting raid. He was emaciated and weighed just 30 pounds when he first arrived at the shelter.
After his adoption, Blue settled in with Vivian quickly. He now devotes his time to the finer things in life: “He loves people, as well as car rides and his rope toy—that’s his favorite,” says Vivian. He is never far from her side, especially when she’s sleeping or cooking, and has even taken a liking to olives, which grow on the many trees that dot their property.
“He seems to have forgotten about everything that happened, which is more than we can really ask for,” she adds.
Blue’s happiness is a testament to his resilient spirit. In many ways, he represents the thousands of dogs who have been rescued from abuse and who refuse to be defined by their traumatic past. Blue never gave up, just as we will never give up our commitment to ending dog fighting. In fact, April 8 marked our first annual National Dog Fighting Awareness Day, a day created to spread knowledge and understanding of dog fighting and to encourage animal lovers to take action against this barbaric practice.
We believe that there will come a time when dog fighting is seen for what it really is: the shameful pastime of cowards. But until that day comes, we will continue to fight for the victims—for dogs like Blue—so that they never have to fight again.
The ASPCA is currently on the ground assisting the Milwaukee Police Department and the District Attorney of Milwaukee County with a multi-site dog fighting raid in the City of Milwaukee. Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission is transporting, sheltering and caring for the dogs.
Today, eight search warrants were executed at eight crime scenes, where 23 suspected fighting dogs were seized. Investigators also discovered blood on basement walls as well as other evidence of dog fighting, including treadmills, wound treatment supplies and muscle building supplements.
Experts from the ASPCA Field Investigations & Response (FIR) team are on hand to assist with evidence collection and documentation. The ASPCA has been assisting local authorities with this dog fighting investigation for nearly a year.
Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The ASPCA is committed to eradicating the blood sport. We have designated April 8 as the first National Dog Fighting Awareness Day to advance the conversation about dog fighting, and to encourage animal lovers across the country to take action against this brutal form of cruelty.