The ASPCA Equine Fund’s Rescuing Racers Initiative is pleased to celebrate its fifth year with the announcement of 25 new grant recipients. Launched in 2010, Rescuing Racers Initiative is a major grants program created to aid in the rescue and rehabilitation of retired racehorses—many suffering from career-ending injuries—to save them from slaughter. The inclusion of this year’s recipients brings the program’s total to $1.7 million in equine-related grants since 2010.
“The ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative began with an anonymous donation of $1 million, and we’ve been fortunate enough to carry on this much-needed grants program thanks to the continued generosity of that donor and many other animal advocates,” said Jacque Schultz, Senior Director of the ASPCA Equine Fund. “We’re grateful to have the resources to assist these rescues, which provide sanctuary and after-care to retired racers, saving them from ending up at livestock auctions and slaughterhouses.”
This year’s recipients include a wide range of equine rescues from 14 states, and each will be awarded a grant ranging from $1,500-$25,000. The grant funding helps the groups increase capacity for rescuing more horses, and this year primarily focused on training and rehabilitation costs such as veterinary care, therapeutic shoeing, and boarding to recover from career-ending injuries.
“Rescuing is only the beginning,” said Susan Peirce, president and founder of Red Bucket Equine Rescue, one of the grant recipients. “With deep appreciation to the ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative, we will be able to continue to rescue, rehabilitate, and train deserving equines.”
The organizations joining the list of rescues and sanctuaries as part of the ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative for 2014 are:
Akindale Rehabilitation & Land Conservation, NY
Brook Hill Retirement Center for Horses, VA
Equine Outreach, Inc, OR
The Exceller Fund, KY
FL TRAC, FL
Friends of Ferdinand, IN
Hidden Acres Thoroughbred Rescue, FL
Hooved Animal Humane Society, IL
Kearney Area Community Foundation/Double R Horse Rescue, NE
Kentucky Equine Humane Center, KY
Makers Mark Secretariat Center, KY
MidAtlantic Horse Rescue, MD
Neigh Savers Foundation, CA
New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, OH
Red Bucket Equine Rescue, CA
Rerun Inc, VA
Second Stride, NY
Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue, CA
Standardbred Retirement Foundation, NJ
Thoroughbred Athletes, OK
Thoroughbred Placement and Rescue, MD
United Pegasus Foundation, CA
Please join us in congratulating this year’s Rescuing Racers Initiative grant recipients!
It’s hard not to be amazed by the resilience of animals. Every day, we meet dogs and cats who have been rescued from terrible situations—abandonment, hoarding, cruelty and even fighting—but more often than not they welcome us with wagging tails and open hearts. When we met Seymour, a 70-lb. Catahoula Leopard mix, we knew he was one of those special animals. Rescued from the home of a hoarder, this gentle giant consistently amazed us with his kind and loving demeanor. Here is his Happy Tail.
Seymour arrived at the ASPCA in February after being rescued from the home of a hoarder. We could tell he had been through a lot—his face was covered in scars from dog bites—and he timidly kept his tail between his legs. In fact, he was so shy that he could only be coaxed into the assessment room with the aid of a stuffed dog. Once settled, though, we saw what a truly sweet and loving boy Seymour could be, and we hoped to find a perfect adopter who would appreciate his sensitive soul. Fortunately, that perfect adopter walked through our door four months later.
Susan S. had been to the ASPCA before. In 2006, she adopted a 6-year-old dog named Ben, who passed away last June at the age of 14. When the timing felt right, she returned to our Adoption Center to find a new companion. “I never dreamed that I would adopt a dog as big as Seymour,” recalls Susan. She was at the shelter to meet our more petite pups, but Seymour was the very first dog she saw upon entering the facility. “He is an unusual mix, so I noticed him right away—and his size, of course,” she says. “He was standing on his hind legs licking the glass and, well, he noticed me, too.” After taking the full tour and meeting all available small dogs, Susan had a revelation. “I said, ‘I need to go back and see that spotted dog.’ And that was it. Once I was in his enclosure with him and he rubbed me with his enormous head, I knew he was mine.”
Susan adopted Seymour and he moved into her apartment on the Upper West Side. She tells us, “He’s a celebrity in the neighborhood. People know his name better than mine. In fact, people I don’t even know, know Seymour!” He’s so popular that people often stop to take his photo, and despite his history of being bitten, he plays happily with all the dogs in Central Park in the morning and evening. Susan adds, “He is a perfect gentleman. He never, ever barks or acts aggressively. He has been wonderful from the start.”
When Susan tells us, “Seymour just drew me into his orbit with his soulful eyes,” we know exactly what she means. He is living proof that the past doesn’t define the dog, and we are so grateful that this 70-lb. teddy bear has found an adopter as sweet and as loving as he is.
While back-to-school season might be just around the corner, we think there’s plenty time left to make the most of the remaining sunny summer days ahead. Whether you’re planning an August beach trip or an afternoon outing to your local park, we’ve got you covered in the ASPCA Online Store. Plus, each purchase you make will support the ASPCA’s life-saving work for animals in need nationwide. Here’s a roundup of warm-weather products for the whole family:
ASPCA Flying Disc: As you toss this flying disc down the beach for your pup to retrieve, the bright orange color will make it easy to find in the sand.
Black Jumbo Tote:This sturdy, oversized cotton twill tote bag is the perfect carry-all for your weekend getaway.
Pet Car Harness: Are you planning to bring Fluffy along on your next summer adventure? Use this pet car harness, which comes in sizes small, medium and large, to ensure that your pup will be safe and sound in the backseat.
ASPCA Baseball Cap: Shade your eyes from the sun with this soft, cotton twill baseball cap. This adjustable cap is one-size-fits-all and features the ASPCA logo.
Two-Pack of Tennis Balls: We think sunny summer afternoons were made for games of fetch in the park. Toss this two-pack of ASPCA tennis balls in your bag for endless fun with your pup.
Bonus: when you spend $50 or more, you’ll receive free shipping. Thanks for shopping for a cause in the ASPCA Online Store, and enjoy the rest of summer!
In my job, I see a lot of pit bulls, whether at an Austin shelter, a rescue in Los Angeles, or here in our New York City offices, where we occasionally foster dogs from the ASPCA Adoption Center.
I look forward to each visit, not just because I'm typically greeted with a clownish grin, big open paws, and a wildly flapping tail, but because each pit bull I meet is also an individual, distinct character.
This is why prejudice against the pit bull breed, which is really a combination of many breeds,makes no practical sense.
This isn't just a rhetorical debate; the lives of millions of animals are at stake. So it's important to identify what we actually know about this maligned and often misidentified breed, as well as what we don't know.
We know, for example, that every dog—even dogs within the same breed—is different. That's what makes each unique, special and beloved by its human family.
We also know that dogs' personalities aren't based on just a single influence any more than our own personalities are. A dog's behavior is a function of breeding, yes, but also just as strongly affected by socialization, training, environment, and how it's treated by its owners.
Historically, some pit bulls were bred to fight other dogs. Early bulldogs, forbearers of the modern pit bull, were pitted against bulls, bears and other large animals. When these fights were banned in the 1800s, people turned instead to fighting their dogs against each other. But even these dogs, bred to be aggressive to other dogs, were not bred to be aggressive toward people, since fighting dogs must tolerate frequent handling by the humans who train and fight them. Meanwhile, other pit bulls were bred expressly for work and companionship.
Pit bulls have long been popular family pets, noted for their affection and loyalty, but you don't hear much about gentle, loving pit bulls in the media because a well-behaved dog doesn't make headlines.
In American shelters, you'll find lots of pit bulls—with lots of different personalities. What they share in common is a sad fate. Because shelters and animal control facilities take in more pit bulls than any other breed, innocent pit bulls are euthanized more often than any other kind of dog.
At the ASPCA, we've seen and we study many factors that contribute to behavior development in dogs, resulting in sharp behavioral variations—even between dogs of the same breed. A pit bull bred for generations to fight may not fight, just as a Golden Retriever bred for generations as a service dog may bite.
But there are consistent measures owners can take to prevent or curb aggressive dog behavior. For example, if you chain or tether your dog outside, and isolate it from humans, you increase the risk that it will develop aggressive behavior. We also know that early, positive behavioral conditioning, including socialization, is probably the best way to reduce the likelihood of aggressive tendencies in dogs.
Puppies that learn to interact and play with people and other dogs are less likely to show aggression as adult animals. Finally, we know that no matter its breed or background, every dog needs to be raised responsibly, including early socialization, proper training and supervision.
States across the country largely agree that targeting breeds serves no useful purpose. Currently, no statewide policies discriminate against certain dog breeds, and 18 states have taken the extra step to ban breed-specific legislation, or BSL, most recently South Dakota and Utah. Even the White House has weighed in against laws that target specific breeds. Last year, the Obama Administration put out a clear statement saying, "We don't support breed-specific legislation -- research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources... the simple fact is that dogs of any breed can become dangerous when they're intentionally or unintentionally raised to be aggressive."
The statement also noted that the Centers for Disease Control concluded "the types of people who look to exploit dogs aren't deterred by breed regulations" and "it's virtually impossible to calculate bite rates for specific breeds."
The ASPCA supports breed-neutral dangerous dog laws that focus not on breed but on individual dog behavior, as well as laws that prohibit prolonged chaining and tethering, and legislation that holds dog owners accountable for the behavior of their pets.
Ask pit bull owners about their pets, and you'll hear the same things you'd expect from proud owners of beagles, retrievers, pugs, Labradors, or any blend among them. I encourage you to read about Domingo, Blue, and Spike through the words of loving owners who recently adopted those pit bulls from the ASPCA.
I've fostered a number of pit bulls over the years, many of whom were rescued from horrific cruelty. I'm reminded of Dawson, the white pit who was kept in a closet and beaten with weights; Taz, a brindle pit who was found in a dumpster in 2003; and Champ, a caramel-and-white pit who was being trained to fight. Each of them was loving, playful, loyal, and affectionate. And each was, at one time, on a short and certain path to sadistic abuse or euthanasia, but is now in a loving home.
Not every dog is a good match for every prospective owner, so educate yourself before adopting. Compare a dog's need for exercise with your availability to take it on frequent walks and runs. Compare its medical requirements to your ability to provide that care. And compare its behavior, as documented and explained by shelter staff, with your family's ability to maintain and manage that behavior. When taking in a new pet, ask questions, consider potential challenges, and remember that small children should never be left unsupervised around animals.
Understanding dog behavior, providing dogs with the care they need and the supervision expected by family and neighbors—these are the best ways to keep pets and people safe, to celebrate the joy pets bring to our lives, and to end the myths that unfairly and tragically cost so many their lives.
Not all families will open their homes to a pit bull, but I hope many will open their minds.
We’d like to extend a big thanks to the PEDIGREE Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping dogs in need find loving homes by supporting the good work of shelters and dog rescue organizations around the country. In 2013, the Foundation awarded a $25,000 grant to the ASPCA in support of our Behavior Rehabilitation Center. The ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey, is the first and only facility dedicated to providing behavioral rehabilitation for undersocialized canine victims of cruelty, such as those confiscated from puppy mills and hoarding situations.
Julie Duke, Executive Director of the PEDIGREE Foundation, paid a visit to the Behavior Rehabilitation Center. She was so impressed with the work the ASPCA is doing to help turn severely fearful dogs into adoptable companions that she arranged for Kristen Collins, ASPCA Director of Anti-Cruelty Behavior Rehabilitation, to present at the 2014 Tennessee Animal Control Conference on August 4 and 5. Julie strongly believes that animal welfare shelters in Tennessee will benefit greatly from hearing our specialists talk about the Center and our work there.
We are truly grateful for the PEDIGREE Foundation's generous support. For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.pedigreefoundation.org.