When a tip came in about the suspected abuse of a Bulldog pup named Spike, our Humane Law Enforcement Department took immediate action. Working hard to make New York City a safer place for its four-legged inhabitants, our Agents often rely on the brave and swift actions of concerned citizens who report acts of animal cruelty.
On Monday, the ASPCA announced the Million Dollar Rescuing Racers Initiative to help rescue retired racehorses from neglect, abuse and slaughter. The two-to-three year initiative, which was made possible by a generous donor, involves six equine rescue groups and sanctuaries that have accepted the challenge of saving more thoroughbreds than ever before.
While healthy, well cared-for horses live an average of 18 to 25 years (and often much longer), a racing horse’s career generally lasts only one or two years. “Racing thoroughbreds rarely live out their final days in peace and comfort when their careers are over,” says ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “Too often, they end up at auctions—or worse, are sent to foreign slaughterhouses where their lives come to brutal ends. These grants will give organizations devoted to equine rescue the ability to save more horses and further advance their missions.”
The six grant recipients are: California Equine Retirement Foundation in Winchester, CA; Old Friends in Georgetown, KY; MidAtlantic Horse Rescue in Chesapeake City, MD; Kentucky Equine Humane Center in Lexington, KY; Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation headquartered in Saratoga Springs, NY, with contracted housing in 14 states; and Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses (CANTER) in East Lansing, MI, with chapters in eight states. These recipients will use the grants to expand direct intake programs, incorporate physical therapy/rehabilitation programs, renovate facilities to accommodate more horses, create voucher programs to increase adoptions, and implement training programs for thoroughbreds to prepare them for second careers.
“The ASPCA truly values each group’s steadfast efforts to promote equine welfare,” says Jacque Schultz, Senior Director of ASPCA Community Outreach. “The thoroughbred that has given his all on the racetrack deserves to live out his life free of pain, fear and suffering.” For more information about helping horses and preventing equine cruelty, please visit ASPCA.org.
When two severely emaciated Jack Russell Terriers arrived at the New York City Animal Care & Control (AC&C) shelter in Brooklyn, staff immediately suspected they had a cruelty case on their hands. Brooklyn resident Vera Osborne had relinquished the starving dogs, claiming that her niece could no longer afford to feed them—and that she could no longer bear witness to it. One of the dogs, a two-year-old pup named Patches, died within hours of being admitted.
“Unfortunately, starvation is one of the most common types of cruelty we investigate,” says Stacy Wolf, Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel for the ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Department. “Animal cruelty is a serious crime, and we are doing everything we can to see that the victims receive justice.”
AC&C contacted the ASPCA Humane Law Department for assistance with the case, and a necropsy performed at ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital confirmed that Patches’ cause of death was indeed starvation.
Soon after, ASPCA Special Agent Joe Vais began investigating Patches’ death, traveling to Osborne’s East Flatbush home for an interview. When questioned, Osborne again stated that the dogs were under the sole care of her niece, Rlisa Youell, and that after several failed attempts to have the dogs properly cared for, she turned them over to the shelter.
On February 24, Special Agent Vais arrested Youell and charged her with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty. She faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Looking back at our accomplishments in 2009, champions of animal welfare throughout the United States have plenty to celebrate! For a quick and easy rundown of last year's coolest new laws, check out the Legislative Year in Review featured on ASPCA.org. You'll also get to see which animal welfare topics were popular with legislative bodies in multiple states.
Good news—the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed regulations for the care of “organic” dairy cows, which we asked you take action on two weeks ago, have been approved! The new rules, effective June 17, stipulate that organic milk and meat must come from livestock grazing on pasture for at least four months of the year; 30 percent of the cows’ feed must come from grazing; and ranchers must have a plan to protect soil and water quality.
“We are delighted to learn that so many cows will now have access to pasture and an opportunity to graze,” says Robert Baker, ASPCA Senior Manager of Farm Animal Welfare. “We hope this will be the first of many steps the USDA will take to align organic standards with humane standards. Consumers need to be given an opportunity to make a ‘humane’ choice as well as a healthy choice when they choose organic products. We welcome these initial measures toward this goal.”
We would like to give a big thanks to News Alert readers and members of the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade who took the time to email the White House from ASPCA.org. Over the span of 15 days, more than 33,000 emails were sent!
“Clear and enforceable standards are essential to the health and success of the market for organic agriculture,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a USDA press release issued last Friday. “The final rule published today will give consumers confidence that organic milk or cheese comes from cows raised on pasture, and organic family farmers the assurance that there is one, consistent pasture standard that applies to dairy products.”