Guest blog by Deborah Dubow Press, Regulatory Affairs Senior Manager, ASPCA Government Relations
It has been nearly eight years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, forever changing the way America responds to natural disasters. The human and animal suffering wrought by Katrina and Superstorm Sandy should remain fresh in our minds as we enter another hurricane season, and preparedness should top the agendas of animal caretakers and policy makers.
That’s why yesterday we were shocked to learn that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) may be reconsidering the disaster plan rule requiring all facilities licensed under the federal Animal Welfare Act—this includes breeders, zoos, research facilities, dealers, and other exhibitors and intermediate handlers—to prepare emergency plans for protecting and caring for animals during disasters. Asking those who use animals commercially to demonstrate a level of readiness to protect animals in their custody is fair and reasonable. We are dismayed by the possibility that the USDA would waver on a rule that could save lives at such a small cost.
For the ASPCA responders who experienced Katrina, Sandy, and countless other disaster deployments firsthand, the horrors of these events have not faded from memory: dogs chained in yards and left to drown; cats starving to death in homes after evacuations dragged on and on; animals covered in oil and toxic sludge; dogs stranded on rooftops; animals wandering the streets malnourished, dehydrated, and frightened, many never to be reunited with their owners.
The more that pet owners and animal facilities prepare for emergencies, the better responders can focus their relief efforts when disaster strikes. We hope that ultimately the USDA will remember the heartbreaks of Katrina, Sandy, Joplin, and countless other disasters and renew its resolve to protect imperiled animals under its jurisdiction.
July 21 is “No Pet Store Puppies Day,” and we’re celebrating the third year of our campaign to put an end to puppy mills. If you’re looking for an opportunity to get involved, we know someone looking for help—meet Molly!
Molly, along with her faithful pup, Joey, is out to teach the world all about puppy mills and why you shouldn’t shop at pet stores that sell puppies.
Molly and Joey want to make sure their message reaches as many people as possible, so please share their video with the hashtag #MeetMolly after you’ve watched it.
Join Our Puppy Mill Twitter Chat Next week we’re hosting a Puppy Mill Twitter Chat to answer ALL of your questions about puppy mills. Where do pet store puppies come from? What really happens to mill dogs when they can no longer breed? Is my dog from a puppy mill? How can I help? Join us, and co-hosts Thoughts Fur Paws and Dog Book on Tuesday, July 23, at 1:00 P.M. ET. Use hashtag #ASPCAchat to join the conversation.
For more information on No Pet Store Puppies Day, please visit nopetstorepuppies.com. And remember—adopt, don’t shop!
In March 2013, Eriny Y. decided to drop by the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan to peruse the adoptable animals. That’s when she met a special black-and-white kitty named Hamper, since renamed Lucy, and the two became inseparable. She shared the following story with us:
When I first saw Lucy at the Adoption Center, I asked if I could meet her because I thought her lazy eyes were adorable. The moment her cage opened, she started licking my fingers and purring. I knew I had to have her. I was hooked! She came home with me, and with a bit of time, she began to trust me.
Eventually, she started to curl up in bed with me and fall asleep as I scratched her head. She now insists on sleeping with me every night! She also loves her kitty treats and her catnip toys.
Whenever I leave the room, Lucy meows until I come back. At the end of the day, when I come home from work, she meows as though she is telling me about her day.
I love sharing my home with my adorable companion, and she has enriched my life in so many ways. I'm so thankful I decided to take that trip to the ASPCA on the off chance I might find a new friend.
Lucy has adjusted very well, and she makes me so happy to come home every day. Thank you so much, ASPCA!
The first month of the 2013 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge is complete, and we couldn’t be more excited to share the results of the competition thus far. In the month of June alone, the Challengers saved a total of 18,336 animals’ lives! Competing shelters achieved this by adopting out or reuniting pets with their guardians. June’s impressive total means the shelters saved 4,380 more lives than during the same month last year.
The fun has just begun! The Challengers still have plenty of time to get creative and save even more animals during July and August. Stay tuned as the action unfolds during the remaining two months of the Challenge.
Goofy ASPCA adoptable Spike is sweet, playful and very affectionate. He’d love nothing more than a long game of fetch followed by a cuddle session with his special people, and he’s available right now. Recently, our photographer snapped Spike at play at our Adoption Center in NYC, and we wanted to share the results with you. Check out his album on Facebook.
Can’t adopt Spike? He still really needs your help. He’s a great dog who deserves a family, and we’d love it if you’d spread the word about him. Here’s why:
At the ASPCA, Spike is a staff favorite. Everyone’s had a chance to fall in love with him because he’s been with us for nearly two years—longer than any other dog currently in our care. Spike came to us through our Humane Law Enforcement department in 2011. Back then, Spike was emaciated and undersocialized, afraid of most new people and things.
Naturally, as soon as he was medically ready, our behavior counselors set to work socializing this special guy. They took him to new places, like the park and on busy streets. They introduced him to many volunteers so he could learn how great people can be. Before long, Spike blossomed into a dog who couldn’t wait to shower his favorite staffers with kisses.
Behavior counselors also taught Spike basic manners, and he eagerly showed us how smart he is, learning Sit and Drop It very quickly. Due to chronic lung disease, Spike needed an inhaler for a time, and he shocked behavior counselors with how fast he learned to use it. (Today, Spike no longer requires an inhaler.) Late last year, Spike became eligible for adoption. He’s been waiting for his family ever since.
So what gives? Why hasn’t Spike found a home? (We ask ourselves these questions all the time.) He’s shy with new people, and sometimes when Spike sees adopters through the glass of his habitat, he barks his unique, hoarse-sounding bark at them. Understandably, that can make some people feel unwelcome and move along to other dogs.
It’s a shame those folks miss out on Spike, though. He’d so like to get to know them better—just slowly. That’s why we’re asking you to share Spike with all your social networks. Together we have the power to write Spike’s happy ending. What are you waiting for?
Spike would love a teens-and-up home. He loves to play with other dogs, but can play a bit rough, so a resident dog would need to be up for that. To learn more about adopting Spike, check out his page.