After two days of intense thunderstorms that brought devastating floods to the city of Nashville, TN, and the need for evacuations across multiple states, members of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team are on the scene at the request of the Dyersburg-Dyer County Humane Society. The ASPCA landed in Tennessee on Tuesday night to help local groups care for animals displaced by the floods. In addition to bringing much-needed sheltering supplies, the ASPCA is prepared to provide a water rescue team and other resources to assist with the recovery efforts as needed.
The ASPCA's joel lopez, left, and Tiptonville, Tenn. Animal Control Officer Chandra Davis washing a rooster outside the Dyersburg-Dyer County Humane Society, where the ASPCA has established a temporary shelter and decontamination station for animals impacted by recent flooding.
We will post updates as we receive them—please check our blog for the latest news.
As the recent Gulf oil spill threatens several coastal states, the ASPCA has dispatched Kathryn Destreza, Southeast Regional Director, Field Investigations and Response, to help local animal shelters prepare for a response. Destreza is on the ground in Plaquemines Parish, LA, working with representatives from the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART), local shelters and federal and state agencies to assess animal rescue needs in the area. The ASPCA is also in communication with officials from Mississippi and Florida to monitor the needs of the entire Gulf Coast region.
Stay tuned to ASPCA.org for developing news on this national disaster.
On Wednesday, April 14, the New Hampshire State Senate voted nearly unanimously to pass the Greyhound Protection Act (House Bill 630) to permanently ban the racing of Greyhounds in the Granite State. The bill had already passed the state’s House of Representatives in March, so it now goes to Governor John Lynch, who is expected to sign it into state law.
Thanks for this legislative victory are due in part to the New Hampshire-based members of the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, who sent 267 emails to their state senators urging support for the act, and to Senator Sheila Roberge, who took the Senate floor to tell the tragic story of Amber, a Greyhound who lost her life in a violent track accident. Amber was one of nearly 1,200 dogs injured while racing in New Hampshire between 2005 and 2008—these injuries included broken legs, paralysis, cardiac arrest and head trauma.
The ASPCA opposes dog racing, which is an inherently cruel form of entertainment. Racing dogs are confined for 20 hours or more a day in small cages, often wearing muzzles; they are bred excessively in the quest for good runners, with the “excess” puppies killed or otherwise discarded; they suffer from inhumane transportation as they’re shuttled from state to state for racing purposes; and they regularly endure serious and fatal injuries.
The nine states that have banned dog racing are: Maine (1993), Virginia (1995), Vermont (1995), Idaho (1996), Washington (1996), Nevada (1997), North Carolina (1998), Pennsylvania (2004) and Massachusetts (2008, effective 2010). For more information about the plight of racing Greyhounds, please visit ASPCA.org/dogracing.
Today is Earth Day! There are plenty of ways to show the planet some love with eco-friendly pet parenting. Just like us, our beloved animal companions love to eat and play—but they haven’t yet mastered the art of recycling or composting. Here are some simple steps you can take to reduce your pet’s carbon paw print.
Tap is where it’s at! Give your pet filtered tap water instead of bottled to drink. If you must use bottled water, be sure to recycle the bottle.
Scoop the poop with biodegradable bags instead of plastic bags. Kitty parents, go for eco-friendly cat litters, avoiding brands containing mined minerals.
Don’t reach for the bleach to clean your pet’s messes. Use vinegar instead—it’s green, removes odors and kills bacteria.
Get Moving! Walk your dog to the doggie park rather than driving there.
Buy pet supplies in bulk or the largest available size. You’ll make fewer trips to the store and cut down on discarded packaging.
It’s the little things that count and add up to big savings for you, your pet and Mother Earth. For more ways to celebrate Earth Day with your pet, check out our guide to living green with cats and dogs.
Action Tip: Reuse and recycle by contacting your local shelter reps and asking if they need extra towels, bedding, leashes, litter boxes, pet toys or other gently used items that you plan to throw away.
The Supreme Court released its verdict on U.S. v. Stevens today, finding for the respondent, Robert Stevens, throwing out his 2005 conviction and permanently striking down the "Crush Act," the 1999 law under which he was convicted. The court had been weighing the merits of the case since October 2009.
The Crush Act (U.S. Code Section 48) was a 1999 federal law banning the creation, sale and possession of materials depicting animal cruelty. The law was meant to stop the creation and sale of crush videos and other depictions of illegal acts of animal cruelty "in which a living animal is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed." Stevens, who marketed videos of dog and hog-dog fighting, was the first person convicted under the Crush Act.
With the 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court has concurred with the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 2008 overturned Stevens' conviction due to its interpretation of the Crush Act as an unconstitutional infringement on the free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. Federal courts have long made the distinction between illegal conduct and speech about illegal conduct, which is generally protected. (The only types of speech totally beyond the protection of the First Amendment are obscenity, incitement to illegal activity, "fighting words" and child pornography.)
Moreover, the Court found the Crush Act to be substantially overbroad, arguing that its intent could be twisted for use in frivolous prosecutions—but it did not choose to decide whether a hypothetical statute limited to crush videos or other depictions of extreme animal cruelty would be constitutional. This is good news, as it opens the door for the animal protection community to propose new language for legislation that will achieve what the Crush Act was meant to do.
"Although the Crush Act was rarely used, it had the potential for aiding in the prosecution of a variety of forms of animal cruelty that are increasingly being encouraged through the dissemination of videos," says Dr. Randall Lockwood, ASPCA Senior Vice President of Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects. "Going forward, the ASPCA will gladly work with Congress to draft new legislation that can withstand tests of constitutionality to provide law enforcement with tools to effectively combat extreme animal abuse."