Oliver the kitten didn’t have the most auspicious start in life: An animal control officer from the Tallahassee Leon County Animal Service Center rescued the orange tabby from a flooded sewer drain and took him to the shelter, where Oliver hissed at everyone who passed by his cage until the cat foster coordinator for the Leon County Humane Society (LCHS) pulled him from the shelter. She worked with Oliver until he was purring and even playing with dogs.
When LCHS learned that a woman’s dying wish was to hold a kitten and watch him play, they knew Oliver was the perfect cat for the role. Oliver loved the dying woman until she passed away with him curled up next to her. He was adopted by the woman’s granddaughter who today can’t imagine life without him.
Oliver never would have made it out of that storm drain to comfort a dying woman and to be placed into a loving home had it not been for dedicated people from different organizations working together to save lives. Tallahassee is one of the ASPCA’s partner communities, and Oliver’s story is testament to the work being done there by animal welfare agencies teaming up to get animals out of shelters and into homes.
Collaboration is an integral element in the ASPCA’s formula for saving homeless dogs and cats. We talk about the importance of collaboration so much that it has become our mantra. Communities are listening, and as a result, more dogs and cats are being saved. The ASPCA has built a collaborative life-saving model that we are replicating in various partner communities throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of animals have been saved since we started our partner community program in 2007.
Our goal is an ambitious one—to end the killing of healthy or treatable dogs and cats in animal shelters. We won’t pretend this is easy, but we are always mindful that animals like Oliver need our help.
The results are in! Just as we hit the midway mark of the 2012 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, we are thrilled to report that participating shelters helped save nearly 20,000 animals’ lives during the month of August. The shelters achieved this staggering feat by adopting out or reuniting animals with their pet parents. We couldn’t be more impressed or pleased that 19,114 cats and dogs found forever homes in just 30 days—that’s a combined increase of nearly 5,000 lives saved over the same month in 2011!
Our contestants approached this year’s Challenge with creativity, which led to happy animals and pet parents all around. These shelters kicked off August with special events drawing adopters of all ages and pet preferences. From games and food giveaways to adoption fee-waived specials, each shelter utilized innovative ideas to match tons of furry best friends with loving adopters. We think this strong start in August is a sure sign of good things to come as these shelters keep on truckin’ toward the finish line at the end of October.
We’d like to congratulate the shelters in each region that saved the most additional cats and dogs by the end of the first month of the Challenge: Canyon County Animal Shelter (Caldwell, ID) in the West region, City of San Antonio Animal Care Services in the South Central region, Toledo Area Humane Society in the North Central region, The Humane Society of Charlotte in the Southeast region and Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Center (BARCS) in the Northeast region. These participants will each receive a $5,000 Fast Start grant for working so hard to pull ahead of the competition. Congrats!
But the fun is just beginning. With a month and a half left to go, our contestants have plenty of time to buckle down, get creative, and find even more ways to find more loving forever homes for animals in need. You can follow all their triumphs on the $100K Challenge website.
Lacey, before and after receiving treatment at the ASPCA Animal Hospital
When ASPCA Special Agent Ann Kelly brought hound mix puppies Cagney and Lacey to the ASPCA Animal Hospital on February 17, the two were so skinny that their bones were visible from across the room.
The dogs’ owner, Gillian Irving, relinquished them to the ASPCA after Agent Kelly visited her home in the Norwood section of the Bronx. In April, Agent Kelly arrested Irving, who was charged with two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. (If convicted, Irving faces up to two years in jail and/or a $2,000 fine.)
Meanwhile, under the care of our veterinary professionals, the frightened dogs put on weight quickly: Cagney went from 16.4 to 27.1 pounds, and Lacey from 15.2 to 26.9, in the months leading up to Irving’s arrest.
As these shy puppies gained weight, they also made new friends among ASPCA staff and learned that new people weren’t so scary after all. At first, the dogs “would cower to the ground when they were removed from their kennels,” recalls ASPCA Senior Behavior and Training Manager Victoria Wells. “Once the vets gave the medical okay, they were paired up with each other and more confident dogs for play sessions and walks to expose them to new people and places. They slowly began to overcome their fear.”
They even made a special friend in Kim Danley, a licensed veterinary technician. When the dogs were ready to move to foster homes, Danley brought Lacey to the home she shared with her Rottweiler and ASPCA-alumnus cat, while Cagney went to another foster home.
As Danley invested lots of time in teaching Lacey that new people and places were exciting, not scary, Lacey became an irreplaceable member of the family. When Lacey was made available for adoption, Danley decided to make it official. She filled out the paperwork and renamed her Frankie.
Since then, the Danley family has moved to California, where Frankie loves running on the beach, sunbathing on her deck and taking boat rides. Danley reports that “now she’s the happiest dog in the world. She and Charlie sleep curled up with each other every night. She’s not afraid of a thing.”
Back in June, the New Jersey Legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill to prohibit the slaughter, transport, and sale of horses for human consumption within the state. Unfortunately, Governor Chris Christie has not yet signed the bill into law, and it’s not clear that he intends to.
With the clock ticking, several prominent New Jersey horse owners, equestrians and animal advocates, including Jessica Springsteen—daughter of Bruce—have sent a letter to Governor Chris Christie urging him to approve the horse slaughter ban. Christie is famously a huge Bruce Springsteen fan: Will a direct plea from The Boss’s daughter move him to finally act?
Americans don’t eat horse meat (it is shipped overseas), and 80% of American voters are opposed to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption. What are you waiting for, Governor Christie?
See our latest press release to read a portion of the letter to the governor and learn more about New Jersey’s pending horse slaughter ban. And if you live in New Jersey, we urge you to send your own letter to the governor—visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to get started!
APSCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents are investigating the deaths of several dogs that became violently ill in July after visiting Riverside Park in upper Manhattan. The animals’ guardians suspect the dogs were victims of intentional poisoning.
We are working to determine the cause of these dogs’ tragic endings. If you have any information related to this case, please contact the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4450.
Please stay tuned to ASPCA.org for more information about this developing case.