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.
National radio personality Trey Morgan has long sought to give back to his community—but like many of us, he wasn’t quite sure where to begin or how to make the time. Not one easily defeated by challenge, Trey took the initiative to create a campaign that would prove to both himself and his listeners, that volunteering can be easily done
On September 21, the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team in conjunction with the Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO) removed 71 dogs from an overrun puppy mill in Camden County, MO. The dogs—which include Dachshunds, Maltese, Shih Tzus, Lhasa Apsos, Huskies and Boxers—were transferred to the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri in Springfield and HSMO in St. Louis, where they received medical treatment and will be cared for until they're ready for adoption.
"This case was unique in that the dogs were voluntarily relinquished by the kennel owner who could no longer afford to feed them," explains Tim Rickey, ASPCA Senior Director of Field Investigations and Response. Last week the mill owner contacted a local rescue group, Half-way Home Pet Rescue in Cedar County, for help, and Half-way Home then reached out to the ASPCA.
"When breeders are no longer able to care for their animals, the problem lands squarely on the shoulders of local shelters," says Half-way Home's Latisha Duffy, who works closely with breeders in Missouri to find homes for retired breeding dogs.
Known as the "Puppy Mill Capital of America," Missouri is home to more than 3,000 commercial dog breeding facilities and provides more than 40 percent of all dogs sold in pet stores nationwide. "We see some of the worst conditions in Missouri puppy mills," explains Rickey. "The dogs, often very ill, are forced to live in overcrowded, filthy conditions."
In an effort to end the many cruelties associated with puppy mills, the ASPCA, a founding member of Missourians for the Protection of Dogs/YES! on Prop. B, is supporting Proposition B, also known as the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act. This landmark measure, which will appear on Missouri's November ballot, promotes the humane treatment of dogs in the state's large-scale commercial dog kennels. If passed, Prop B would limit the number of breeding dogs to 50 per facility, and would require large-scale breeders to provide sufficient food, water and space for the animals under their care.