Think it's easy being a Pit? Not always. Pit Bulls are easily the most misunderstood and mistreated breed of dog. At many city shelters, they make up the majority of the canine residents—and often through no fault of their own.
Pits have a reputation for being vicious, and often fall into the wrong home environment because of it. When they don’t live up to their bad rap, many are dumped at the shelter. Despite their unfair reputation, Pit Bulls make very sweet and loyal family dogs. If you’re considering rescuing a Pit, here are some useful guidelines:
Trainwith love. All Pit Bull puppies and adults need gentle, consistent training. Pit Bulls may look tough on the outside, but they’re often extremely sensitive. Harsh training techniques are not appropriate or necessary.
Consider adopting an older Pit Bull. With an adult dog, what you see is what you get. Their personality is already developed, and you'll be able to spot the characteristics you're looking for much more easily than with a puppy.
Please Spay or Neuter. Pit Bulls should be neutered or spayed. In addition to the health and behavioral benefits, neutering or spaying helps reduce the number of unwanted Pit Bulls who end up in shelters.
Take Action Be a Pit Bull ambassador—if you’re the proud parent of a Pit, please share your story in the comments section! For more information on adopting this special breed, visit our Ten Tips for Adopting a Pit Bull.
Every 10 seconds an animal is abused, and chances are it’s happening in your very own community. By creating a neighborhood watch group you can help crack down on animal cruelty and neglect. These tips will help get you started:
Build a Team. Get to know the animals in your neighborhood and invite your friends and neighbors to do the same. Together you can keep an eye out for any suspicious behavior, lost pets, etc.
Hold Monthly Meetings. Meetings can be held in a private home or local cafe. If your area is much bigger, you may need to obtain permission to use a school or church in the area.
Learn how to report animal cruelty. Every state is different. In some areas, the police department investigates animal cruelty; in others, that job falls to local animal control. If you aren't sure where to report cruelty, visit our Report Animal Cruelty section.
Work with local authorities. Tell your local humane organization, animal shelter and police department that you are starting a neighborhood watch program. Ask them to come on board with any tips!
Pay Attention! Is a bad situation getting worse? Have you seen a blatant act of animal cruelty? Are pets disappearing from your neighborhood? Don't turn your back. Rally your team and call the local authorities immediately.
Look Out for Wild Neighbors. Wild animals need protection, too. If you see anyone injure a wild animal, please report the incident. Wild animals are also often injured or killed by trash we throw away. Help implement a cleanup and recycling plan in your community.
The skies begin to darken. Your beloved dog begins to pant and pace around the house—her tail tucked between her legs. When the first crash of thunder hits, she bolts into the bathroom and curls up tightly in the tub. She remains there, trembling, until the storm passes.
Sound familiar? If your pooch is scared of thunderstorms, don’t worry! We have some stellar advice for helping her overcome this fear.
Human company often calms panicked dogs. If your calm, quiet touch brings comfort and security, take time to snuggle with your pet.
Try turning on some calming music, a TV or radio, or a fan to muffle storm noises. Shutting the drapes may also help if lightning frightens your dog. More active distractions may help, too. See if your dog will eat from a food-filled toy like a stuffed Kong, scatter treats in the house for him to find, or try playing tug with his favorite toy.
Invest in wellness products. There are a number of products on the market that may help your pup remain calm during storms, including close-fitting body wraps, noise-reducing headphones, herbal remedies and medications. Talk to your vet about options.
Make sure it’s not a medical condition. If your adult dog has suddenly become afraid of storms, please start with a visit to your vet. A sick dog may be more sensitive to sounds, and no amount of behavior modification will help if your dog’s fear is due to a medical condition.
A promising and unprecedented agreement has been reached that could improve the lives of hundreds of millions of hens across America.
Under the agreement, United Egg Producers (UEP), a cooperative representing the owners of approximately 80 percent of the nation’s egg-laying hens, and the Humane Society of the United States will jointly push for federal legislation to improve the welfare of all laying hens in the United States. The ASPCA and other animal welfare groups have also agreed to support this legislation. This could lead to the first federal law improving the treatment of chickens used for food, the first federal law improving the daily conditions for animals on factory farms, and the first federal farmed-animal protection legislation in more than 30 years.
The agreement came as two ballot campaigns aimed at improving conditions for egg-laying hens in Washington and Oregon—both of which were championed by the ASPCA and our citizen Advocacy Brigade—were gaining momentum. As a result of today’s news, the initiative drives will be suspended.
"This is a historic and ground-breaking proposal, and the ASPCA calls on Congress to swiftly enact legislation to protect hens from some of the most shocking abuses on factory farms,” states Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of Government Relations for the ASPCA. “The legislation and ballot initiatives on hen welfare already adopted in California and Michigan, and those pending in Washington and Oregon, prove the American public will no longer tolerate the mistreatment of animals anywhere.”
More than 90 percent of egg-laying hens in the United States are confined in enclosures called “battery cages.” The footprint of one of these cages is smaller than a single sheet of standard letter-size paper—they are so small that the hens within them can’t even extend their wings, and the discomfort and stress they experience manifests in constant self-mutilation and fighting. If enacted, the proposed language advocated by UEP and animal welfare groups would, among other improvements:
Require the nationwide elimination of barren battery cages over a phase-out period, replacing them with hen housing systems that provide birds with nearly double the amount of space;
Require environmental enrichments so birds can engage in important natural behaviors;
Mandate that all egg cartons be labeled to inform consumers of the method used to produce the eggs, such as “eggs from caged hens” or “eggs from cage-free hens.”
Are you daydreaming of a sandy beach and palm trees? Paradise, right? Not so fast, says Fido. Though palm trees evoke relaxation of the highest order, Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)—a stocky member of the Cycad family of plants—can be downright dangerous to our furry companions.
According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in Urbana, Illinois, pet poisonings from the increasingly popular Sago Palm are on the rise. A native of Southern Japan, the plant is a common addition to outdoor landscaping in sunny climes, and in recent years, has emerged as a trendy houseplant in northern states. Though attractive with its dark green leaves and hairy trunk, Sago Palm is highly toxic to cats and dogs. Common signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, depression, seizures and liver failure.
Many pet parents may not be familiar with the toxic effects of Cycad Palms and assume only the seeds or nuts are poisonous—but all parts of the plant are toxic.
As always, pet parents should guard against any mishaps and place Sago Palm well out of the way of their animal companions. Or consider a non-toxic alternative—it will brighten your home and keep the dog days of summer cool and carefree.