It’s time to deck the halls…and hit the roads! For many of us, it’s just not the holidays without our pets and there’s no question we’re bringing them to all the family celebrations—even if those festivities are 1,000 miles from home.
According to the 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey (conducted by the American Pet Products Association), the number of pet parents who bring Fido on the road is steadily increasing. And the holidays are no exception!
The holidays are a popular time to bring home a new pet—and for animals in shelters, getting a real home is the best gift ever. But listen up, potential pet parents: Bringing home a new furry friend is also a serious commitment.
To help would-be adopters, the ASPCA Adoption Center has prepared a special video explaining the do’s and don’ts of holiday pet adoption.
Just remember, surprises are wonderful, but never give a pet as a gift. See if your shelter has a gift-certificate instead!
Can we all agree that confining dogs in small cages for 20 to 23 hours a day, almost every day, is cruel?
True, this confinement doesn’t meet legal definitions of cruelty, but, legal or not, most of us who love dogs know that this is wrong. Yet this is the way of life for the thousands of greyhounds who are forced to race in this country’s greyhound industry.
Greyhound racing only occurs in seven states, with the majority of greyhound tracks located in Florida. This week, GREY2 USA, with funding from the ASPCA, released a report detailing the horrific conditions racing greyhounds are subject to in Florida. You can access a copy of the report here [PDF].
Racing greyhounds are in their cages nearly all the time. They are fed “4-D” meat, which means meat that comes from dying, diseased, disabled and dead livestock deemed unfit for human consumption. Their owners feed them this raw meat simply because it is the cheapest available, and they don’t even bother to cook it to destroy the bacteria.
Florida does not require its greyhound racing facilities to report injuries to the public, but we have documentation of dogs with broken legs, backs and skulls; dogs who have died of seizures after racing; dogs who have died of heart attacks; and a dog who was electrocuted. Racing dogs have repeatedly tested positive for drugs such as cocaine.
While the dogs suffer every day as part of this industry, few people even seem to notice. Attendance at greyhound races has dramatically declined through the years, and tracks actually lose money on the dogs. But since Florida law won’t permit dog track owners to continue gambling operations at those tracks unless those tracks hold dog races, the races continue.
Two bills (HB 641 and SB 382) are pending in Florida that would remove the requirement that dog tracks offer live greyhound racing in order to also offer card games or slots. If you live in Florida, please contact your legislators to ask them to support this legislation.
Guilty! Today the Marshall County Prosecutor's Office confirmed that two Mississippi residents—John and Nancy Garrison—pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty. The charges stem from a 2010 puppy mill raid when the ASPCA rescued more than 100 dogs found living in deplorable conditions.
John and Nancy Garrison were each sentenced to six months in jail and 11 months and 29 days of supervised probation. They were also ordered to pay $26,847.14 in restitution to the ASPCA and $2,793.19 to the Marshall County Humane Society, which will be suspended pending successful completion of the probation terms. As part of the probation, the Garrisons are prohibited from owning or harboring animals, and/or residing at any residence with animals for five years.
“The ASPCA is pleased the defendants are taking responsibility for subjecting these dogs to a life of pain and suffering,” said Tim Rickey, Senior Director of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team. “The ASPCA appreciates the diligence of the Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office for seeing this case through to the end. We hope to continue our work in investigating puppy mills and rid the nation of this cruel and inhumane industry.”
For more information on the Holly Springs, Mississippi, puppy mill investigation, please visit our puppy mill section.
The ASPCA helps animals in a lot of different ways—from rescuing them from cruelty to spaying or neutering them or advocating on their behalves. What it all boils down to is that we are in the business of trying to save as many lives as we can. To that end, we sponsor the ASPCA $100K Challenge where the contestants compete to save animals and the winners receive money to continue their successful programs.
This year’s $100K Challenge launched in April. Animal shelters that wanted to compete had to qualify by getting online votes, with the top 50 vote-getters qualifying to participate. Contestants then worked to save at least 300 more animals during the months of August, September and October than they did over the same period last year.
How did they do? Amazingly well. The $100K contestants saved 52,484 dogs and cats in just three months—8,977 more lives than last year.
Think about that staggering number. If you think about how much your dog or cat means to you and how much value he or she adds to your life, imagine the significance of being able to save tens of thousands of animals like yours in just three months.
Rising to the Challenge This week we announced the winners of the $100K Challenge. Frankly, every competitor saved lives and was a winner, but we awarded prizes to the groups that had the biggest increases in lives saved.
Austin Pets Alive! in Austin, Texas won the Grand Prize, and the ASPCA was proud to award them $100,000 to continue their stellar lifesaving work.
As you can imagine, this has not been the easiest year for shelters. Many people are having economic difficulties. Our contestants proved that despite the tough economy, people love animals and are willing to step up to save lives.
But Austin had challenges that other communities did not, so the fact that they won is even more impressive. During the three-month contest, Austin was gripped with historically bad weather—record-breaking heat, drought conditions and wildfires.
Austin Pets Alive! rose above the challenges Mother Nature hurled at the community. When the air conditioning went down in the building housing homeless dogs on a particularly sweltering night, volunteers took all of the 50 dogs in that building into their own homes so that not one would have to suffer.
Austin Pets Alive!’s no-kill mission was put to the test by prolonged natural disasters, and they responded by saving 1,673 cats and dogs in just three months’ time—an increase of 850 cats and dogs from the same time period in 2010. We look forward to APA! saving even more animals next year through our grant.
Other communities that won awards all used hard work and creativity to save more lives. Congratulations to our second prize winner and southeast regional prize winner, the Humane Society of South Mississippi (Gulfport, Miss.), which won a total of $45,000; our Community Engagement Award winner, Humane Society for Greater Savannah (Savannah, Ga.), which won $25,000; and our other regional award winners: Greater Androscoggin Humane Society (Lewiston, Maine), City of Independence Animal Services (independence, Mo.), and Ramona Humane Society (San Jacinto, Calif.), each of which won $20,000.
I can’t wait to see how many animals will be saved in the ASPCA’s 2012 $100K Challenge! Stay tuned!