Love is in the air—and it's time to plan that special date! Here are our top picks for animal-friendly outings that are sure to get those sparks flying.
Skip the circus and head to a movie! Unlike animals under the Big Top, movie actors aren't forced to do anything cruel or unnatural. Besides, there's nothing more romantic than holding hands and stealing a few kisses under the Big Screen. (Word of warning: skip the popcorn; kernels get caught in your teeth.)
Forgo the horse-drawn carriage and opt for sledding. Instead of making an overworked horse carry you through congested streets, find a big hill and go sledding. After all, what could be more fun than holding on tight to your sweetheart at top speeds? Don't forget the hot cocoa!
Instead of window shopping for puppies, volunteer at your local shelter. Many couples find picking out a new puppy together romantic. But before you take your date window shopping, remember that most puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. Why not head to a shelter instead? You're sure to get warm fuzzies spending the day volunteering with your date—and you might not leave empty-handed.
Hey there, cute couples! Do you and your pet look smashing together…or maybe even alike? Maybe you're the proud pet parent of a charming pair of kitties? Or perhaps your pooch looks too-cute cozied up with his best friend? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then this contest is for you!
Funny, assertive and loving Serena came to the ASPCA after a staff member found her living on the streets. That was in December 2009—779 days ago! That makes Serena the animal in our care who has waited the longest to find her family.
So she could get a break from the shelter life, Serena is currently at our administrative headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, sharing an office with ASPCA Vice President of Marketing and Licensing Elysia Howard. Naturally, we asked Elysia to tell us more about Serena. Here’s what she had to say:
Serena is a VERY cool cat. She is a spunky, forward, I-am-the-center-of-your-universe girl who will take over your space as fast as your heart. She will unabashedly plant herself in the middle of the room, in the middle of your conversation, on top of your desk, and even claim the very chair you are sitting in. All the while looking you in the eyes with this "Is this all you have for me?" expression.
Serena is so special that I don’t mind if being petted is not her thing. She grants me a few caresses to make me happy, and will lick my hand so I know she loves me back. Serena is looking for someone to accept her as she is: a smart, sassy lady!
If you’re an experienced cat adopter in a 14+ household, and you’d like Serena to be your only cat, please call our Animal Placement department in New York City at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4900. If you’re outside NYC but are able to come meet Serena and then work out transportation for her, give us a call. She’ll be here waiting for you!
How could she? Last Saturday,the ASPCA arrested Nicole Dennis for allegedly neglecting and starving her one-year-old Shih Tzu, Dora.
Back in December, our Humane Law Enforcement Agents arrived at Dennis’ Brooklyn home and found Dora in a severely neglected state. They rushed the skeletal dog to the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital where veterinarians discovered she weighed 6.55 pounds. Dora was put on intravenous fluids to combat dehydration, and her coat was shaved due to excessive, painful matting.
“You don’t have to hit, beat or kick an animal to be cruel to them,” says Howard Lawrence, Senior Director of Operations for the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Department. “Animal cruelty also includes situations where an owner fails to provide necessary food, water, shelter or veterinary care.” Since 2010, 83 percent of the ASPCA’s arrests have involved some form of animal neglect.
Dennis, 32, was charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty. If convicted, she faces up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. She is due in Kings County Criminal Court on March 5.
After receiving intensive treatment, Dora now weighs 9.2 pounds—a 40 percent increase! She is continuing her recovery at the hospital and will eventually be made available for adoption.
If you suspect an animal may be the victim of neglect or abuse, please report it.
I have loved animals my entire life, and there is only one thing that I have always hated about sharing my life with them—having to say “goodbye” far too early. I think most of us can agree that if we could change one thing about our pets it would be their longevity.
But sometimes that very attribute that we all seek in our pets—the ability to live long, healthy and happy lives—can present a challenge. This is particularly the case with large captive exotic birds such as parrots, macaws and cockatoos that can live more than 65 years. Since many large birds can outlive their human guardians, they are often by necessity re-homed several times during their lives. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to re-home a bird and many animal shelters do not take in homeless birds.
Birds of all sizes can be wonderful companions, as they are intelligent and captivating. They can also be loud and messy when expressing their natural behaviors. However, when deprived of an outlet for their natural behaviors (such as flight) they may bite, pull out their feathers or get depressed. Birds are sensitive to various stressors and, depending on their size, may be expensive to care for. Too often people who acquire birds as pets do not educate themselves before they do so and, hence, do not understand their special needs. Given all of these factors, shelters and sanctuaries that do take in homeless birds are rapidly filling.
Unwanted Birds Local animal shelters would do well to develop relationships with avian rescue groups and community bird groups. These species-specific experts can offer foster care and re-homing options.
If you are currently the guardian of an unwanted bird, please know that releasing exotic captive birds into the wild is a death sentence for most. If you cannot find another home for him or her on your own, contact your local shelter or bird rescue.
For shelters that are considering the implementation of a bird program, always keep in mind that birds are prey animals and that stress should be minimized. Work with local avian rescues to train your shelter personnel in bird care. The information necessary to safely care for birds is far too complex to convey here, but certain practices are universal, such as the importance of taking a good history upon intake. First, you should find out why the bird is being surrendered. What problem behaviors does he exhibit? How old is he? How many homes has he had and how long did he live at each home? Has he lived with and gotten along with other birds? What other animals has he been exposed to? Does he prefer one gender? Is the bird male or female? What does he eat? Obtaining answers to these questions is important to the bird’s next guardians as well as to the veterinarian and shelter staff.
House birds in a relatively quiet room in the shelter. Before a bird is handled at the shelter, try to observe him. Monitor his alertness. Remember that the bird may not be used to handling by strangers. When you are ready to handle him, make sure you have all your equipment and supplies ready, to minimize stress. All captive birds should be banded, so take note of the numbers on those bands. For shelters that have an active bird program, new birds should be quarantined from the rest of your flock for 40 days to safeguard health.
ASPCA Avian Grant Program I hope that one day there is a safe shelter or rescue in every community for legal pets of all types, but until then species-specific rescue groups need our support. To that end, the ASPCA has issued a call for proposals open to 501(c)(3) avian rescues and sanctuaries to improve the welfare of birds. We will award up to a total of $25,000 in grants of $500-5,000 to help deserving groups promote adoptions, make capital improvements, purchase enrichment equipment, train shelter staff in bird care, and pay for vet care for victims of abuse or neglect. More details can be found about the ASPCA’s bird grant program at ASPCAPro.org/aspca-grants. Act soon, since all applications must be received no later than March 1, 2012.