Guest blog post from Suzanne McMillan, ASPCA Director of Farm Animal Welfare.
Last week, we helped organize a Capitol Hill briefing alerting legislators to the animal welfare dangers of misusing antibiotics—something commonly done on factory farms. While antibiotics are essential for treating sick animals, they’re often given on farms to compensate for overcrowded, filthy and stressful conditions. The horrible living conditions, coupled with the overuse of medications, create an added threat of the animals contracting a superbug that can’t be treated with antibiotics.
The briefing was hosted by Representatives Slaughter and Schakowsky, two supporters of the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA) bill, which aims to tackle this problem. It was gratifying to see these Congress members, who have shown interest in the human health implications of antibiotics for quite some time, showcase the animal welfare impacts, too.
Because the chicken and turkey industries, in particular are notorious for keeping birds in horrific conditions, where they live in their own waste on the floors of sheds packed with tens of thousands of birds, the ASPCA brought farmer Frank Reese to the panel to address the use of antibiotics in poultry farming. Reese raises chickens and turkeys at Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch, a farm that raises heritage (non-factory farm-bred) birds on pasture, allowing them to be true to their nature. Reese explained that, in contrast with factory farmers, he avoids subtherapeutic antibiotics by raising genetically healthy birds in a low-stress, spacious, pastured environment where they do not endure mutilations.
We will continue spreading the word about the dangers of raising animals by relying on subtherapeutic antibiotics, and we hope you will, too! Check whether your senators and Congress member are co-sponsoring PAMTA. If so, thank them; if not, urge them to!
How can anyone just abandon a dog? We may never fully understand the motives behind such senseless acts—especially when there are so many options—but that is exactly what Patricia Reddick allegedly did to her one-year-old Spaniel mix, Marley.
On June 23, a passerby came across Marley tied to a fence in a park. The concerned person called Animal Care & Control, whose officers picked up the dog and took her to their Manhattan facility. Shortly thereafter, our team was notified and we transferred the skinny and dehydrated pup to the ASPCA Animal Hospital for immediate treatment.
“Marley was left to fend for herself, which, in addition to being illegal, is a violation of the trust your pet puts in you,” says Howard Lawrence, Senior Director of Operations for the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department. “Thankfully for Marley, a Good Samaritan saw her and contacted the appropriate authorities— she will now have an opportunity to find a loving home.”
Reddick was charged with one count of abandoning an animal, a misdemeanor offense. If convicted, she faces up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. She is due in Bronx Criminal Court on November 20. Marley is recovering at the hospital and will soon be made available for adoption.
Pet theft is on the rise. The American Kennel Club, which has been tracking pet thefts since 2007, reported a 32% increase in dog thefts last year.
While some animals are snatched from their yards or during home invasions, opportunistic thieves most commonly steal dogs left in cars or tied up outside stores. In the ASPCA’s hometown of New York City, dognappings skyrocket every summer as pet parents take advantage of nice weather to combine dog-walking with errand-running.
Protect Your Pet Avoid becoming a victim of this heartbreaking crime!
When running errands around town, visit pet-friendly establishments or please leave your dog at home.
Keep a close eye on your pet in designated off-leash areas, where he could become a target for criminals looking to make a quick buck. (Pet thieves often try to resell—or even hold for ransom—stolen dogs.)
Avoid leaving your pet unattended in the front yard, especially if your lawn is exposed or accessible.
The same rules apply for leaving your pet tied up outside a store. In addition to being vulnerable to theft and teasing, your dog might escape or get injured.
Microchip your pet! Microchipping can often mean the difference between temporary and permanent separation from your furry loved one.
For more important information about what to do if your pet is missing, please read our article on Finding a Lost Pet.
Guest blog written by Cori Menkin, Senior Director of the ASPCA's Puppy Mills Campaign.
Lambriar, Inc., one of the largest puppy brokers in the United States, has announced that it is closing its kennel doors for good. Puppy brokers like Lambriar are middlemen, buying dogs from puppy mills and distributing them to pet stores throughout the country. Brokers are an important cog in the wheel of the cruel and inhumane puppy mill industry.
When asked why Lambriar is closing its doors, owner Roger Lambert told Kansas newspaper The Belleville Telescope “When you couple the bad economy with increasing rules and regulations and increased pressure from animal rights activists, well, it just got too hard.”
We have been working hard to shed light on the link between puppy mills and pet store puppies, and it seems to be working! As more and more people take our No Pet Store Puppies pledge not to buy anything in stores that sell puppies, the industry will continue to feel the ripple effects and be forced to make changes.
If you haven’t taken the No Pet Store Puppies pledge yet, please do! And please be sure to share it with your friends so that one day, puppy mill cruelty will be a distant memory.
It is here, people! August 1 is the official kickoff of the 2012 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, when shelters across the country will engage in a friendly, three-month competition to save more animals’ lives.
This weekend, the 50 shelter contestants are pulling out all the stops to get the party started right. From all-night adoption parties to special promotions (hello, free cats!), these events are sure to get the public pumped up to adopt a pet and help their local shelters find more pets more homes.
And don’t forget to follow @ASPCALive as we bring you all the minute-by-minute kick-off action this weekend. Join the conversation by using the hashtag #100KChallenge and help your favorite shelter find homes for even more animals!