Welcome to The Paw Print! In this recurring feature, we highlight the latest news affecting animals and animal-lovers around the country. Here are some of the top stories right now:
New Studies Show Dogs and Humans Bonded At Least 27,000 Years Ago: DNA evidence suggests that ancestors of domestic dogs separated from the ancestors of wolves and bonded with humans at least 27,000 years ago—earlier than previously established by geneticists. Husky-type dogs share a significant number of genes with a breed of wolf that lived 35,000 years ago. [Discovery News]
Feline Burn Victim Befriends Fellow Patients at Animal Hospital: After suffering severe injuries during a house fire that destroyed his family’s home, a North Carolina cat named Russell has spent the past year and a half recovering at a local animal hospital. As his condition improves, Russell has formed special bonds with many other patients with special needs—including an abandoned baby deer and an injured Chihuahua. [The Huffington Post]
Pending Legislation Would Allow Military Dogs to Return to U.S. with Handlers Following Service: U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) is pushing for a provision that would allow military dogs to go home with their handlers at the conclusion of their service. Under current law, these dogs are not guaranteed the ability to return to the U.S. upon retirement, and some wait years to be released from military ownership. [WABC-TV New York]
Bear That Inspired the “Teddy Bear” May Be Removed from Threatened Species List: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed that Louisiana black bears, which are known as the visual inspiration for teddy bear toys, be removed from the threatened species list. While the population of Louisiana black bears once dwindled below 100, government officials estimate that as many as 1,000 of the bears reside in Louisiana. [The Washington Post]
Special Reunion in the Works for Pet Parent and Stolen Cats Discovered 1,000 Miles from Home: It’s not clear how two cats stolen from their home in Indiana wound up more than 1,000 miles away in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After a man surrendered them to an Albuquerque shelter, shelter workers checked for microchips and found contact information for the cats, named Leroy and Shya. The shelter is still working to arrange a reunion for Leroy, Shya and their pet parent. [KRQE.com]
The ASPCA’s Cruelty Intervention Advocacy (CIA) team will host a Vaccine Event and Pet Party on Saturday, June 6, in Coney Island, Brooklyn, where we’ll provide critical services for the community’s pets. We are seeking the expertise of dedicated veterinarians (DVMs) and other animal-lovers to assist with the event. This is a great opportunity to help New York City’s animals!
At the event, we’ll provide free vaccines to cats and dogs, as well as microchips while supplies last. We need additional DVMs and general volunteers to staff the Pet Party, which will be held at Kaiser Park from noon to 4:00 P.M.
You probably know her as the world’s cutest Internet star (and as our former Cat Executive Officer!), but Lil BUB also works very hard to make a difference for cats in need. On May 28, the ASPCA and Lil BUB announced an additional 29 recipients of grant funding through Lil BUB’ BIG Fund for the ASPCA.
The 29 organizations, spanning 17 states, received a total of $57,190. The latest grantees from Lil BUB’s BIG Fund for the ASPCA are:
Angels of Assisi (Roanoke, VA) Animal Shelter Volunteers of Texas, Inc. (Montgomery, TX) Seattle Area Feline Rescue (Shoreline, WA) Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Inc. (Arlington,VA) Animalkind, Inc. (Hudson, NY) Austin Pets Alive! (Austin, TX) Beaver County Humane Society (Aliquippa, PA) Cat Matchers (Dallas, TX) Fancy Cats Rescue Team (Herndon, VA) Five Acres Animal Shelter (Saint Charles, MO) Fort Collins Cat Rescue & Spay/Neuter Clinic (Fort Collins, CO) Heartland Humane Society of Missouri (O'Fallon, MO) High Desert Humane Society (Silver City, NM) BrightSide Animal Center (Redmond, OR) Humane Society of Truckee Tahoe, Inc. (Truckee, CA) Humane Society of Warren County, Inc. (Front Royal, VA) Lexington Humane Society (Lexington, KY) New England Society for Abandoned Animals, Inc. (Osterville, MA) Northwoods Humane Society (Wyoming, MN) Ohio Alleycat Resource & Spay Neuter Clinic, Inc. (Cincinnati, OH) Partners for Animal Welfare Society, Inc. (Greenfield, IN) Peninsula SPCA (Newport News, VA) Preston County Animal Shelter (Kingwood, WV) SAFE Haven for Cats (Raleigh, NC) Second Chance Pet Adoptions, Inc. (Raleigh, NC) Southern Colorado Spay & Neuter Association (Pueblo, CO) Tabby Town-Friends for Felines, Inc. (Blasdell, NY) The Foundation of Animal Care and Education (FACE) (San Diego, CA) Tickled Pink Weimaraner Rescue (Albuquerque, NM)
One hundred percent of donations collected for Lil BUB’s BIG Fund for the ASPCA are distributed to animal welfare organizations to support homeless pets that need special care or extra help getting adopted, due to conditions such as: physical deformity, birth defects, developmental disability, mobility impairment, blindness, deafness, wounds suffered from a disaster, accident or abuse, any permanent diseases or chronic illnesses and old age. Since the fund started in 2014, over $132,000 has been distributed to 67 organizations nationwide.
It’s no secret that animal abuse and animal fighting affect communities across the country. At the ASPCA, we know that the most effective way to fight these crimes is through proper response and investigation, and thankfully, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office and the Nassau County Police Department are on our side. On Wednesday, May 27, members of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group (ACG) gathered at the Nassau County Police Academy in Long Island, New York, to share critical expertise and anti-cruelty knowledge with around 100 attendees from the Nassau County Police Department, Nassau County SPCA, Town of Hempstead, Town of North Hempstead, Hempstead Village Police Department and other municipal public safety representatives from throughout Nassau County.
Training topics included:
An overview of New York animal cruelty laws
The role of forensic veterinary medicine in animal cruelty cases
Proper investigation and evidence collection
How to have safe encounters with dogs
Introduction to blood sports investigation
A guide to recognizing hoarding and early intervention
The training was a continuation of an ongoing collaboration with authorities in Nassau County. On Wednesday, May 13, 2015, at the request of the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, the ASPCA assisted local authorities in a dog fighting investigation led by the Nassau County DA and Police Department. The ASPCA provided experts to identify crime scene evidence, conduct behavior evaluations of the seized animals, and serve as expert witnesses
Pictured from left: John Bolin, ASPCA NE Regional Investigator; Terry Mills, ASPCA Dir. of Blood Sports Division; Dr. Pam Reid, ASPCA Animal Cruelty Behavior Team; Elizabeth Brandler, ASPCA NYC Legal Advocacy Council; Colleen Doherty, ASPCA Cruelty Intervention Advocacy; Howard Lawrence, ASPCA Sr. Director of Anti-Cruelty Group; Detective Investigator Elizabeth Rye, NCDA Animal Crimes Unit. Credit to Nassau County District Attorney's Office
With warm weather on the rise, the question of pets’ fur is a hot topic. Almost every animal needs some type of grooming—whether it’s regular brushing or more in-depth care—and failure to groom can lead to serious consequences. When a cat named Charlemagne’s coat became more than his owner could handle, he was surrendered to the ASPCA where, fortunately, he met new pet parents who wouldn’t “brush” the issue aside. Now he’s living a happy, healthy life. Here is Charlemagne’s story.
Charlemagne and his sister, Chantilly, were both purchased from a cat breeder. Ragamuffin/Norwegian Forest mixes can cost more than $1,000 each, and they are known for their thick, luxurious fur. But with that beautiful fur comes added responsibility: these fancy felines must be groomed frequently, both at-home and by professionals, to avoid health issues. Unfortunately, Charlemagne and Chantilly’s owner couldn’t keep up with the cost of their care, so he surrendered them to the ASPCA.
At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, both cats arrived severely matted. Part of Chantilly’s coat had to be shaved off completely, and Charlemagne was so stressed and uncomfortable that he refused to eat for a few days. They finally acclimated, and on February 14—Valentine’s Day—both cats were adopted into separate homes.
Chantilly settled in to her new life nicely, but one week later, we were crestfallen to learn that Charlemagne had been returned. His new owner’s roommate was allergic to the cat’s lavish coat, so he was back at the ASPCA searching for what would now be his third home. Finally, on March 3, the pretty kitty found his new parents in the form of Ellie and Rich of Astoria, New York.
Ellie and Rich decided to adopt a cat after a positive experience pet-sitting for a friend. “The apartment just didn’t feel the same without some paws scurrying around,” Ellie recalls. On their very first trip to the ASPCA Adoption Center, they spotted Charlemagne. “It was one of those instantaneous feelings when we saw him. I gasped and Rich went, ‘Well, there he is.’”
They entered Charlemagne’s enclosure where he laid “belly side-up flopping around and purring,” Ellie says. “It was impossible not to be smitten with his silly sociability!” But the other thing that drew the couple to Charlemagne was the one thing that had created so many issues for him in the past: his fur. “He was beautiful. We had never seen a large Norwegian Forest/Ragamuffin before. He has a long, gorgeous grey coat. Needless to say, he was hard to resist.” They adopted Charlemagne that very same day.
Back at their apartment, Charlemagne (they call him “Charles” for short) settled into his new home with ease. “There wasn’t even an adjustment period!” Ellie says proudly. “He walked out of his kennel, sniffed, explored a bit, and flopped down to have his belly rubbed.” In addition to regular grooming, Charlemagne is now receiving the undivided love and attention he always deserved. “He loves to play and give and get affection. He follows us from room to room, like a magnet to our feet. It is absolutely impossible to imagine life without him,” she adds. “We are totally in love with Charlemagne!”
Congratulations to this happy family and to Charlemagne for receiving the “FURever” home of his dreams