Guest blog by Richard Patch, Vice President of Federal Affairs, ASPCA Government Relations.
Today I had the honor of meeting one of our nation’s four-legged heroes! I was invited to the official retirement ceremony of military working dog Rambo at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in Havelock, North Carolina. Rambo loyally served our country, protecting human soldiers and keeping America safe, and will enjoy his well-earned retirement in the loving home of Lisa Phillips, a former soldier and founder and CEO of the Retired Military Working Dog Assistance Organization.
Rambo will have a happy ending, but his canine colleagues are not always so lucky. Despite their heroic efforts, military working dogs (MWDs) are currently classified by the U.S. Department of Defense as “equipment.” Not only does this classification trivialize their life-saving contributions, but it also makes it difficult to transport the dogs from foreign warzones back to the United States after their service is completed so they can be adopted.
The Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act, introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) and in the Senate by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), reclassifies military dogs as “canine members of the armed forces” instead of equipment. The bill also simplifies the adoption process for retired military dogs and directs the military to set up a program for retired dogs’ veterinary care, at no cost to the taxpayer. It also directs the Secretary of Defense to create a decoration or other recognition for military dogs who are killed in action or perform an exceptionally meritorious or courageous act in service to their country.
We need your help to build Senate support for the bill. For the sake of our canine heroes, please contact your U.S. senators and ask them to cosponsor S. 2134, the Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act. Like their human counterparts, MWDs deserve to be respected and cared for, both during and after their periods of service.
On behalf of Rambo and all our nation’s military canine heroes, thank you!
We are devastated to report that a three-month-old Pit Bull puppy named Joey was thrown from a car in Brentwood, Long Island, on Saturday. A witness found the tiny 10-pound pup in a plastic bag near the Sagtikos State Parkway, covered in fleas and crying out for help. Joey suffered three broken vertebrae in his neck and is recovering at the Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island.
The ASPCA is offering a reward of $15,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in this case. This reward is in addition to a $5,000 reward offered by the Suffolk County SPCA. We are also providing a $10,000 grant to the Veterinary Medical Center to offset some of the costs of treating and caring for Joey.
“We were both outraged and saddened to hear about this disturbing case of violent abuse, and the callousness that was demonstrated by those responsible,” says Matt Bershadker, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group. “While our ultimate hope is that these types of heinous acts never occur, this is a message that cruelty toward animals will not be tolerated. We are pleased to be in a position to help those who are helping Joey.”
If you have information related to Joey’s case, please contact the Suffolk County SPCA by calling (631) 382-7722.
Hundreds of cats rescued from an environment of terrible neglect are receiving loving care in new homes this week. The ASPCA helped multiple agencies in Florida adopt out the cats during three major adoption events on August 11 and 12.
The events, hosted by the Jacksonville Humane Society, Cat Depot and Humane Society of Pinellas (with assistance from Bay Area DART), drew more than 1,600 people to cities across Florida to adopt hundreds of cats rescued in late February from Caboodle Ranch.
This Saturday, August 18, the Halifax Humane Society is hosting another event to find homes for some of the remaining cats with special needs, including those who are FIV-positive or have feline leukemia. Please see the details below.
What: Halifax Humane Society Adoption Event When: Saturday, August 18, 10:00 A.M.-4:00 P.M. Where: Volusia County Fairgrounds (Hester Building) 3150 E. New York Avenue (State Road 44) DeLand, FL How to Adopt:Potential adopters should bring with them one government-issued photo ID (i.e., driver’s license, passport, military ID or non-driver ID) and proof of address.
Go, teamwork! The ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and Change.org have gathered approximately 350,000 letters, comments and signatures from citizens speaking out against puppy mills. Yesterday, the information was hand-delivered to the D.C. headquarters of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in support of the agency’s efforts to regulate unlicensed puppy mills.
“The enormous public response to the USDA’s proposed rule illustrates just how strongly Americans support greater oversight of unlicensed puppy mills,” says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. “We have witnessed the abhorrent cruelty that often exists behind the pictures of happy puppies posted on a breeder’s website, and this rule would crack down on the worst Internet breeders.”
The USDA has proposed a rule that will require large-scale commercial breeders that sell pets over the Internet or by mail or phone, sight-unseen, to be licensed and inspected under the federal Animal Welfare Act. The public comment period closes today. Now the USDA will read and consider all comments before deciding final action on the proposed rule.
“We encourage the USDA to adopt a final rule that is enforceable, effective and covers as many commercial breeders as possible,” says Perry.
Super thanks to everyone who took the time to speak out for puppy mill dogs. To learn more about our legislative efforts and how you can become involved, please visit our Advocacy Center.
Guest blog written by Deborah Dubow Press, ASPCA Regulatory Affairs Manager.
We frequently hear tragic news stories involving animals traveling in airplane cargo holds, and it’s no wonder—these animals are exposed to lots of dangers in transit. They can be left on the tarmac in the hottest summer months, transported in unsafe carriers that do not meet humane standards, or be carelessly lost in the shuffle of air cargo traffic.
Currently, the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires airlines to report the losses, injuries and deaths of pets only. Reporting requirements exclude commercial shipments of animals—like a batch of puppies heading from a breeder to a pet store. This means that there are many appalling incidents the public never hears about.
The DOT Responds A new rule proposed by the DOT could lead to greater transparency by airlines and help give people a clearer picture of the risks involved in transporting animals as cargo. The new rule would require airlines to report incidents involving commercially shipped cats and dogs, as well as more than double the number of airlines required to report incidents.
While the proposed rule is better than the one in place now, it still has room for improvement. For instance, it doesn’t cover all animals transported as part of a commercial air shipment—only dogs and cats.
Take Action! The Department of Transportation is accepting comments until August 28. Please tell them that all animals deserve to be protected during air transport while being shipped as cargo. In your comments, please include the following:
You support the DOT’s decision to extend coverage to all dogs and cats.
Reporting requirements are essential to inform consumers about the risks associated with transporting animals by air, and people deserve this information so they can make informed decisions about traveling safely with their pets.
You want the rule to extend reporting requirements to all animals shipped commercially, not just dogs and cats.