This past Thanksgiving, I had so much to be thankful for. Of course, I am thankful for my family, including my dog, Jezebel, and my cat, Mr. B, and friends. I am thankful to enjoy good health. I am thankful to be surrounded every day by people who are dedicated to saving animals.
Even on bad days, I try to focus on all the things to be thankful for. Unfortunately, when your mission is to protect animals from cruelty, you often see images you wish you could erase from your mind forever. I know that most of you experience the same heartbreak when you hear about cruelty against animals. We have to steel ourselves against those images so that we can continue to fight on behalf of the animals.
Recently, the ASPCA held its annual Humane Awards Luncheon. One of my favorite award recipients was Mittens who won Cat-of-the-Year.
Mittens is a beautiful and sweet tabby who lives in Baltimore. In January of this year, Mittens was the victim of unspeakable cruelty—two teenage boys trapped Mittens while she was nursing her kittens, doused her in lighter fluid and struck a match. Mittens was able to escape the trap. Even though she must have been in excruciating pain (she had third and fourth degree burns covering 70 percent of her body), she returned to nurse her kittens.
Mittens was rescued by local police and was taken to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter where she recovered from the loss of her ears and severe burns. Throughout her treatment, Mittens continued to nurse her kittens. Mittens’ story has resulted in new laws being passed in Maryland that protect animals. How can you not be thankful for animals like Mittens?
Thank you to each and every one of you who loves animals and who works to make the world a better place for them—whether that is rescuing a homeless animal, volunteering at a shelter, writing your elected officials to support animal-friendly legislation, or simply spreading the word about how important animals are to you. Wishing you all a happy holiday season!
On April 13, police in Long Beach, New York, came upon a horrifying sight near a sewage treatment plant: Two men were street fighting three Pit Bulls by mashing their faces together, rotating the dogs for endurance training.
When it came time to prosecute the two dog fighters, Sha-ron Hicks and Robert Stockdale, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office turned to ASPCA Animal Fighting Expert Terry Mills to serve as an expert witness.
As the trial date neared, defense attorneys tried to block Mills from testifying, but the judge struck down their motion. Soon after, facing a case bolstered by Mills’ expert testimony, the defense folded; Hicks and Stockdale pleaded guilty to felony dog fighting.
Hicks will receive three months in jail, five years of probation, an order not to possess animals for five years, a spot check agreement to support the order, and restitution for related veterinary bills. Stockdale will receive the same sentence, minus the jail time.
This case marks the second and third guilty pleas Mills has helped secure in Nassau County.
We couldn’t have done it without them. This week the ASPCA honoredeight animal welfare groups that went above and beyond to save the animal victims of cruelty or natural disasters. In recognition of their efforts, each received a $10,000 grant.
“We wanted to thank the agencies that helped us do our life-saving work, especially those in the communities affected by devastating disasters this year,” says Jessica Rushin, Partnerships Manager for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team.
Among the 173 animal welfare and rescue groups in the ASPCA’s Response Partnership network, the following groups were acknowledged for their outstanding efforts in 2011:
Columbia-Greene Humane Society in Hudson, NY;
Dumb Friends League in Denver, CO;
St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison, NJ;
Washington Animal Rescue League in Washington, DC;
Spay and Neuter Kansas City in Kansas City, MO;
Wayside Waifs in Kansas City, MO;
Charleston Animal Society in North Charleston, SC; and
Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
“These organizations really stepped up to the plate and did an exceptional job by dedicating resources, time and personnel to help us in the field,” says Rushin. “We are grateful for their assistance and look forward to saving countless more animals in the new year.”
Did you know you can support the ASPCA while doing your holiday shopping? Through ShopandSupportASPCA.com, you can shop nearly 2,000 of your favorite merchants such as Target, Macy’s, PetSmart and Best Buy. For each purchase you make, a percentage goes back to the ASPCA to help our furry friends!
Simply download the browser extension and never miss out on a chance to support the ASPCA! It is so easy…see for yourself and download today.
If a friend told you that his dog came from “Happy Times” Kennel, what would you imagine that dog’s birthplace to have been like? Perhaps a place where the puppies were nestled by their mother as their human guardians attended to their every need? Sadly, the truth is far from this idyllic image, as the ASPCA witnessed firsthand last week.
Happy Times Kennel in Hot Springs, Arkansas is also known as Rainbow Kennel and Spa City Pets—clearly names meant to connote images of happy and healthy dogs. But when customers contacted law enforcement because the dogs they purchased were sick, the Garland County sheriff’s office, along with the Humane Society of Garland County, began investigating.
Garland County law enforcement purchased dogs in an undercover investigation, and each of the dogs they purchased had multiple illnesses and parasites. This was enough for the Garland County Sheriff’s Department to cite the breeder with violations, but not sufficient to shut down this substandard breeding facility. Garland County contacted the ASPCA for help.
Last week, 30 responders from the ASPCA and other animal welfare organizations assisted law enforcement and other animal welfare groups in the raid of this facility. The sights our responders witnessed were enough to make any animal lover weep. They saw precious Chihuahuas, West Highland Terriers, Boston Terriers and Dachshunds living in filth. Some dogs had open lesions. In fact, many had severe skin problems and flea infestations. We couldn’t even initially tell the color of some of the dogs because they were completely covered with fleas. And perhaps worst of all, dead puppies were found intermingled with live ones.
Our immediate task was conducting triage—the ASPCA veterinary forensics team evaluated the more than 150 dogs we found that were still alive and determined which needed immediate care in a veterinary hospital and which animals could be treated in an emergency shelter. We had sent our Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigations (CSI) unit to the site. This vehicle has state-of-the-art forensic tools and medical equipment and was invaluable in being able to treat animals quickly on-site.
Our forensics team also took photos and video to help law enforcement prepare its case against the breeder, who has been charged with three felony counts of animal cruelty. All of these animals are being cared for now and we hope that they can be released for adoption soon.
This is a terrible reminder of the abuse occurring in puppy mills. Sadly, people looking for a puppy unknowingly support this industry when they purchase puppies from pet stores or through the Internet. To stop this kind of abuse from occurring, please don’t buy anything from a pet store that sells puppies. You can read more about our campaign at www.nopetstorepuppies.com.