Great news for animals nationwide! On June 21, the U.S. Senate took a huge step toward strengthening federal laws against animal fighting by approving the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, which had been a stand-alone bill in the Senate (S. 1947), as part of that chamber’s version of the Farm Bill.
This humane measure would make it a federal offense to knowingly attend an organized animal fight and would impose additional penalties for bringing children to animal fights. Violators would face up to one year in prison for attending a fight, and up to three years in prison for bringing or causing a minor to attend.
While organized animal fighting is a federal crime and is illegal in all 50 states, the issue of spectators at these events has not been fully addressed on the federal level—and laws against spectatorship vary from state to state.
“This measure would help law enforcement by allowing them to pursue and punish the spectators who drive the market for animal fighting,” says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. “Furthermore, children need protection from the spectacle of animal fighting, as well as its dangerous and illegal associated activities, including drugs, weapons and gambling.”
In order for the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act to become law, the U.S. House must add the same language it its version of the Farm Bill, which is still being crafted. The Farm Bill is expected to be finalized by the end of summer.
For more information on the ASPCA’s efforts to tackle animal fighting, please join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade.
In an eight-page order, a judge of Florida’s Third Judicial Circuit transferred ownership of the felines from Caboodle Ranch to local authorities, saying the nearly 700 cats should never return to the rural Florida property.
The judge wrote that the cats “were not receiving proper and reasonable care while in the custody of Caboodle” and that Caboodle lacked “the resources, ability, skill and (most importantly) willingness to follow expert veterinary advice essential to an operation dedicated to the care of such a large and apparently ever-growing number of animals.”
The judge also prohibited Caboodle from acquiring more animals, ensuring that no more cats fall victim to hoarding there.
Wednesday marked four months since authorities raided Caboodle Ranch in rural Madison County. Caboodle promoted itself as a sanctuary for unwanted felines, but the reality of life on the property was very different.
Today the cats are being housed in a temporary shelter in Jacksonville, receiving the veterinary attention, behavioral enrichment and companionship they deserve. Their road to forever homes has been a long one, but even more good news for the cats is just around the corner.
Stay tuned to ASPCA.org for more great news about these resilient kitties!
Thumbs up to Rhode Island for enacting two critical measures to protect farm animals. The new laws ban the intensive confinement of veal calves and female breeding pigs and prohibit the inhumane tail-docking of cows.
"These two new measures are a significant step toward improving the lives of farm animals in Rhode Island, who all too often endure lives of agony and frustration on factory farms," says Suzanne McMillan, ASPCA Director of Farm Animal Welfare. "All animals, including those raised for food, deserve to be treated humanely."
S.2191/H.7180 prohibits two of the most horrible factory farming abuses: veal crates for calves and gestation crates for female breeding pigs. Veal calves and female breeding pigs on factory farms are often confined in crates so tiny that they are unable to lie down, stand up or turn around freely. Eight other states have already passed similar humane legislation, and 16 Rhode Island farms came forward in support of the state ban.
S.2192 prohibits the inhumane practice of "tail-docking" cows. This process involves the partial amputation—typically without pain killers—of up to two-thirds of a cow's tail. Despite claims from some in the dairy industry that tail docking is needed to help ensure cow cleanliness and udder health, the scientific evidence shows that tail docking creates no benefit to the cow or quality of milk produced. Instead, the practice causes cows pain and distress and often results in increased fly attacks. The American Veterinary Medical Association, theNational Milk Producers Federation, and numerous dairy industry representatives are highly critical of the practice and oppose routine tail docking of dairy cows.
"We thank Governor Chafee for protecting Rhode Island's animals from some of the worst factory farm abuses," says Debora Bresch, Esq., ASPCA Senior Director of Government Relations for the Eastern Region.
On Thursday, June 21, the United States Senate moved forward on important legislation to protect the welfare of captive primates. The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved the Captive Primate Safety Act (S. 1324), introduced by the committee’s Chair, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). The measure can now be considered by the full Senate.
The Captive Primate Safety Act would ban monkeys and other primates from the exotic pet trade. As we all know, no wild animal, especially a primate, should ever be kept as a pet.
Apes and monkeys are highly intelligent animals who need to live with their own kind in order to develop normally. In the wild, they inhabit large territories and enjoy companionship in organized social groups. Private owners have neither the knowledge nor the proper environments to provide the long-term, specialized care that captive primates require.
Many captive primates have attacked humans and other animals, or have escaped from their enclosures into the community. Bites and scratches from nonhuman primates can transmit viruses that can cause severe infections and even death to humans.
Take Action! While we applaud Chairwoman Boxer and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for moving forward with this important legislation to protect primates, more work still needs to be done. Please call your two U.S. senators today and ask them to cosponsor S. 1324, the Captive Primate Safety Act. You can find your senators' names and numbers here.
Nearly 50 dogs, ranging in age from 12 weeks to five years, were found yesterday living in the windowless basement of a six-story apartment building in the Bronx. The space, which served as a makeshift dog fighting arena, was littered with crude wooden cages and had the capacity for roughly 100 spectators. Raul Sanchez, the building’s superintendant, was taken into custody and charged with animal fighting, a felony.
Working closely with the NYPD Vice Enforcement Division and the Bronx District Attorney's Office, our team played a critical role in the rescue of the dogs, forensic evidence collection and on-scene documentation.
Also discovered on scene were a loaded .25-caliber handgun, U.S. currency, and other equipment associated with dog fighting—including dog treadmills, harnesses, muzzles, syringes and a shopping cart full of raw chicken parts.
"Organized dog fighting is a brutal form of animal abuse where dogs are exploited and forced to fight as their owners profit from their torture," says Howard Lawrence, Senior Director of Operations for the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement. "The dogs we saw today exhibited scarring and injuries consistent with fighting dogs. We’re determined to protect New York City's animals from this form of cruelty."