Last week, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed three new laws that send a clear message to dog fighters: Bloodsports are not welcome in the Great Lakes State.
Animal fighting is a felony in Michigan, punishable by up to four years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines, and so is watching an animal fight. But these new laws crack down even further. Here’s how:
•SB 356 allows local authorities to seize homes and automobiles associated with animal fighting. •SB 358 adds animal fighting, shooting and baiting to the list of racketeering crimes. •HB 5789 gives law enforcement the ability to shut down any venue found to be associated with animal fighting and declare it a nuisance.
Dog fighting is widespread in parts of the state, and experts have identified regions of the state as national hotbeds for animal fighting. That’s why we’re so glad Michigan decided to arm its officials with these new legal tools.
“We thank Governor Snyder for signing these critical measures to improve upon the existing law, making Michigan one of the toughest states on animal fighting,” says Vicki Deisner, ASPCA State Director of Government Relations for the Midwest.
Way to go, Michiganders! We’re one step closer to ridding the U.S. of dog fighting for good. Ready to help? Visit the Advocacy Center.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Don’t buy a puppy online! Dogs sold over the Internet and shipped directly to consumers almost always come from puppy mills, and mills shipping pups all over the country do not even have to be licensed and inspected by the USDA.
We’ve been fighting to change that, and we now have more ammunition on our side! Our friends at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) have just published an extensive report that details the size and impact of the Internet puppy-sales industry. Read the report here [PDF].
The ASPCA’s Cori Menkin, Senior Director, Puppy Mills Campaign, served on IFAW’s advisory panel for the report and helped to develop the criteria for recognizing if an online ad was likely from a puppy mill; she also provided counsel to IFAW throughout the process.
When the USDA implements its rule and begins inspecting this new category of breeders, adequate resources will be needed to insure that they are in compliance with the law. The ASPCA and IFAW will work with Congress and the agency to determine how best to enforce the law and bring Internet sellers up to the standards of the Animal Welfare Act.
Guest blog by Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of Government Relations
Yesterday was the National Day of the Horse, designated by the U.S. Senate in 2004 as a day for “people of the United States to be mindful of the contribution of horses to the economy, history and character of the United States.” This led me to take stock of how our nation is doing when it comes to equine protection. While there have been advances in horse protection, much work remains to be done.
A 2012 national poll found that 80% of American voters oppose horse slaughter. Even though the last domestic horse slaughter plants have closed, the slaughter of American horses has continued in Canada and Mexico. Attempts made this year to resume horse slaughter in the U.S. were thwarted by massive public opposition. Legislation to ban these practices awaits action in Congress.
This spring, media attention focused on the plight of racehorses. A New York Times investigation detailed the tragedies befalling these equine athletes as a result of widespread drugging. Congress quickly introduced legislation to address this root cause of catastrophic injuries, and we continue to press for its passage.
We worked to draft a new piece of legislation to clamp down on “soring”—the practice of inflicting pain in horses’ legs and hooves so severe that they move with an unnaturally high-stepping gait. This new bill was introduced in Congress this year to amend the Horse Protection Act and end soring once and for all.
While New York City continues to allow the shameful and dangerous practice of driving carriage horses on congested city streets, the ASPCA has backed a pilot program to replace those vulnerable animals with vintage, electric cars. This project is gaining momentum but has not yet replaced the antiquated urban horse-drawn carriage. We continue seeking ways to implement alternatives to the suffering of these noble creatures.
Though Congress recognized wild horses as living symbols of the American West in 1971, competition for public land use has threatened the welfare of our last mustangs. In 2004, a backroom deal led to the amendment of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act permitting the sale of these iconic animals for the first time. This exception allowed over 1,700 mustangs to be sold to notorious pro-slaughter buyer Tom Davis (a devastating discovery made earlier this year). Many fear those horses were sent to slaughter, despite the Bureau of Land Management’s policy against such an action. In response to this incident, the agency just announced reforms to prevent such tragedies in the future—but it may be too little, too late. The ASPCA calls for an end to the sales program and a return to the preservation focus of the Act.
In 2004, when the U.S. Senate recognized December 13 as the National Day of the Horse, it called America to action, stating “horses are a vital part of the collective experience of the United States and deserve protection and compassion.” We at the ASPCA pledge to remain committed to this challenge and will ensure you know when and how you can join us in fighting for our beloved horses.
Sometimes we can’t help ourselves. It’s not uncommon for an ASPCA employee to fall in love with one of the animals at our Adoption Center—in fact, it happens all the time. For Dea Taylor, it happened to her when she met a spunky little dog in our care who had been struggling to find a forever home.
“Halo is sweet, energetic, and the friendliest dog I’ve ever met,” Taylor says. “I knew she would be a challenge when I learned she was returned to the ASPCA three times. But I knew I was up to the challenge.”
Taylor was right. The first night she took Halo home, the little dog was a bundle of energy. In fact, Halo had “energy bursts”—short periods of time when she ran around the apartment until she tired herself out. “When I put her in her crate, she calmed down,” Taylor says. “Then I looked at those cute little eyes, and thought about how many people didn’t give her a chance.”
Lucky for Halo, Taylor gave her all the time she needed to settle in. In the end, Halo just wanted a patient adopter who would let her play and learn the joy of relaxation.
Did you adopt a cat or dog from the ASPCA? Send us photos at [email protected] for a chance to be featured on the blog.
Okay, we admit it. Lady comes with certain limitations. She’s a senior. Her limited vision and hearing make it so she can’t live with cats or most other dogs. And well, she needs daily medication for her arthritis. WAIT! Don’t click away quite yet. Even if you can’t personally provide a home for Lady, we could really use your help in spreading the word.
Although Lady has endured a lot of suffering in her life, she adores hugs and kisses, playing tug-of-war, and—it’s true—sitting in your lap! Despite her charming personality, she has been at our shelter for nearly two years. So we’re asking all of our supporters to use social media to help Lady find a home for the holidays. Please share this flyer on your Facebook, Twitter, blog and other social networks. Together we can find her a home!
If you live in a teens-and-up household and are interested in adopting this sweet girl, please call our Adoption Center in New York City at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4900, or come meet this special Lady in person.