On September 29, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents arrested Manhattan resident Anthony Polanco for striking and injuring his four-year-old Yorkie, Jack.
The investigation began on August 9, when Polanco brought his dog to the ASPCA Animal Hospital for treatment—Jack was unable to walk. When questioned by veterinarians, the 27-year-old admitted to striking the dog while grooming him. Upon further examination, veterinarians determined that Jack had sustained severe blunt force trauma to his spinal cord.
“Inflicting such severe injury on a helpless dog signals the potential for violence directed at other vulnerable victims,” says Stacy Wolf, Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel for the Humane Law Enforcement. “We too often see that animal abusers are repeat offenders.”
Jack is currently recovering at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where he will remain until he is able to be placed up for adoption. Due to the extent of his injuries, Jack may never regain complete function of his right limbs.
“Jack sustained serious injuries—his body may never fully recover,” says Wolf. “But this victim of abuse deserves a second chance at a better life and the comforts of a new forever home."
Polanco, 27, was charged with one count of aggravated animal cruelty and faces up to two years in jail if convicted.
Hard to believe, but the first day of autumn was Wednesday, September 22! There’s nothing like crisp, cool air, the first months of school and luscious foliage to get you excited for the changing seasons. Your pet, too, is probably welcoming a break from hot, sticky weather. But pet parents, beware—fall is also a time of lurking dangers for our furry friends. Here are some tips to keep your pet snug and healthy during the autumn months.
The use of rodenticides increases as rodents seek shelter from the cooler temperatures by attempting to move indoors. Rodenticides are highly toxic to pets and can cause death if ingested. If you must use these products, do so with extreme caution and put them in places inaccessible to your pets.
Those of you with young children know that back-to-school time means stocking up on fun items like glue sticks, pencils and magic markers. These items are considered “low toxicity” to pets, which means they’re unlikely to cause serious problems unless large amounts are ingested. However, since gastrointestinal upset and blockages certainly are possible, be sure your children keep their school supplies out of paws’ reach.
Fall and spring are mushroom seasons. While 99% of mushrooms have little or no toxicity, the 1% that are highly toxic can cause life-threatening problems in pets. Unfortunately, highly toxic mushrooms are difficult to distinguish from nontoxic ones, so the best way to keep pets from ingesting poisonous mushrooms is to keep them away from areas where any mushrooms might be growing. Please immediately contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 if you see your pet eating a wild mushroom.
Visit ASPCA.org to keep reading our full list of fall safety tips!
Thanks to swift action by the U.S. Senate, Congress is very close to finalizing legislation to recriminalize the distribution and sale of “crush” fetish videos. Only one day after its introduction, last night the Senate passed its amendment to the House's anti-crush video legislation by unanimous consent. The Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act now goes back to the House of Representatives—once it secures that body’s approval, it will go to President Obama.
In April, the United States Supreme Court struck down the original Crush Act, a federal law passed in 1999, finding its language to be overbroad and unconstitutional. 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.” The Court’s ruling did leave the door open for the Act to be rewritten—a carefully-crafted statute limited to crush videos or other depictions of extreme animal cruelty potentially can withstand tests of constitutionality.
In response to the Supreme Court’s verdict, Representative Gallegly (R-CA) introduced H.R. 5566, a bill to amend the Crush Act that gives it a much narrower focus, but would still prohibit distributing, selling, or offering to distribute or sell any depictions of animals being crushed, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or burned where such actions are illegal. On July 21, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 416-3 and referred it to the Senate. However, the bill did not move forward until a Senate version was formally introduced.
On September 27, Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Burr (R-NC) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) introduced S. 3841 to amend H.R. 5566, the House’s anti-crush bill. The senators were able to fast-track the bill, bypassing the usual lengthy committee-review process and bringing it to a vote by the full Senate on September 28.
Since the Senate changed the language of the House bill, H.R. 5566 must now go back to the House of Representatives for a second vote. The ASPCA is asking the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security to act decisively and approve the bill so that it can go to the full House of Representatives for a vote before Congress recesses for the year.
On June 8, Brooklyn, NY, resident Claudio Moncion was arrested and charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty. The 60-year-old man is accused of neglecting his small salt-and-pepper Terrier mix, Johnny.
The initial investigation began on June 20, when the ASPCA dispatch center received a report of a dog with an untreated leg injury. ASPCA Special Agents responded to the scene, where they discovered the 2-year-old dog with a large, open wound on his left hind leg. When questioned, Moncion stated that while he did not take the dog to a veterinarian, he did attempt to treat the wound with topical ointments.
Agents rushed Johnny, who was in dire need of medical care, to the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital where veterinarians began treating the wound. Upon further evaluation, they discovered that the infection had spread to Johnny’s left hind paw. Due to the severity of damage, it was necessary to amputate the entire leg. Further testing of the damaged leg revealed that the injury was a minimum of two to three weeks old.
“This was a clear-cut case of animal neglect,” says Stacy Wolf, Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel for the Humane Law Enforcement. “Johnny had obviously been left to suffer for some time with the untreated wound.”
Johnny will undergo further rehabilitation before being placed up for adoption. Moncion faces up to a year in jail if convicted.
If you know of an animal whose health is being compromised by neglect or abuse, please report it. Visit our Report Cruelty FAQ to learn how to report cruelty in your neighborhood.
The tragic deaths of seven puppies in the cargo hold of an American Airlines jet in early August sparked outrage across the country and shed light on a serious defect in the way the Department of Transportation (DOT) has been tracking and reporting pet-related incidents on commercial flights.
Because the DOT interprets the relevant U.S. law (49 U.S.C. § 41721) as applying only to animals considered “pets,” commercial airlines are not required to report losses, injuries or deaths of animals who are considered “not owned” at the time of their transport—this includes dogs shipped by breeders and puppy mills, as well as show dogs being transported by handlers.
In response, U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) have submitted a joint letter to Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, asserting that the DOT’s “flawed interpretation of laws” has allowed reporting of many airline animal incidents—such as the deaths of the seven puppies in August—to “slip through the cracks.” The senators propose that the DOT review and expand its definitions and regulations to better reflect the intent of Congress that all animal-related airline incidents be reported, regardless of the ownership status of the shipped animals.
The ASPCA would like to remind pet parents that shipping a pet in an airplane’s cargo hold can endanger the animal’s safety. Dog breeds with short or flat noses (“brachycephalic” breeds) like Pugs, Boxers and Bulldogs face particular risk—the DOT reports that these breeds represent about half the pet dogs who die in flight while being transported by their guardians as cargo. If you must transport your pet in this manner, please review our Air Travel Tips.