The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team arrived in Pike County, KY, following weekend storms that caused severe flooding and mudslides. The devastating rainfall is being blamed for multiple deaths, and a State of Emergency has been declared for the affected areas. As emergency evacuations and rescues continue, many families have been displaced from their homes—including hundreds of companion animals.
"Countless numbers of animals have been adversely impacted by the recent flooding and are in need of immediate care and housing," says Kyle Held, ASPCA Midwest Regional Director of Field Investigations and Response.
On July 20, at the request of the Pike County Humane Society, members of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team were deployed to help with the crisis. The Team is currently working to transport shelter animals to a temporary location and making room for displaced pets. The ASPCA's new custom designed animal transport trailer is also on hand.
"Emergency transport will help ease the strain on the already full humane society," says Tim Rickey, ASPCA Senior Director of Field Investigations and Response. "We are grateful to be able to assist the Pike County Humane Society and to be in a position to provide aid for the animal victims."
Stay tuned to ASPCA.org for more details on this developing story.
Despite the pending charges, State Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Glownia ordered the SPCA to return 40 of the seized horses to Hoskins. The unexpected ruling fell under the condition that Hoskins hire additional employees to care for the animals and adequate care be provided. The SPCA retained the right to inspect the returned horses and to monitor their care—the remaining 33 horses are still under their authority.
“While the animals were cared for by the ASPCA, they received medical, physical and environmental enrichment vital to their daily well-being—more importantly, time was spent helping them to rebuild their broken spirits,” says Jeff Eyre, ASPCA Northeast Director of Field Investigations and Response. “I can only hope that the same level of proper care will be maintained under these new circumstances.”
Hoskins pleaded not guilty to all charges and was released without bail. She is ordered to return to court on August 18. To date, the total cost of the investigation, including animal care, has exceeded $200,000. Aside from the ongoing criminal case, a civil suit is pending charging Hoskins with the outstanding balance.
“These are definitely some very serious charges,” said Eyre. “But it’s important to remember that each animal involved is considered a separate charge under the law.”
During the last week of June, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland brokered a deal between animal welfare groups and farm interests to halt the promotion of a citizen-backed ballot initiative intended to prevent some of the cruelest practices common in factory farming. As in most of the U.S., veal calves in Ohio are currently allowed to be chained in small crates without enough room to turn around; sows are confined in gestation crates only a few inches wider and longer than the sows themselves; and egg-laying hens are housed in tiny “battery” cages with less space, per bird, than the size of an 8.5”x11” sheet of paper.
During the recent negotiations, Ohioans for Humane Farms and the Humane Society of the United States agreed not to submit the gathered signatures for a ballot initiative in return for adoption of the following measures:
A ban on veal crates by the year 2017.
A ban on new gestation crates after December 31, 2010, and existing crates must be phased out over the next 15 years.
A moratorium on permits for new battery cage confinement facilities for laying hens (this does not affect current facilities).
A ban on the transport of downer cows for slaughter. A downer cow is one who has become too sick or injured to walk unassisted.
Adoption of humane euthanasia methods for sick or injured farm animals.
Enactment of legislation establishing felony penalties for cockfighting.
Enactment of legislation to regulate puppy mills.
Enactment of a prohibition on the sale and/or possession of wild and dangerous animals.
The ASPCA encouraged our Ohio members to sign hard-copy petitions to place the initiative on the state ballot in November. While this compromise agreement did not accomplish everything we hoped for, it is a good first step toward ending confinement practices, and we welcome these broad, sweeping accomplishments for the animals.
We wish to thank all of our Ohio supporters who took the time to sign petitions—and special thanks are due to those who worked so hard to gather signatures. Your efforts were instrumental in bringing the Ohio Farm Bureau to the table. Please be mindful that all of the signatures gathered during the petition drive remain valid and can be submitted in coming years if the agreement is not fully honored.
We hope that efforts such as the one in Ohio will continue to spread across the country, and that soon the cruel practices of factory farms will be a thing of the past. To help the ASPCA and your fellow animal advocates achieve humane victories, sign up to receive legislative email alerts from the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade.
PetSmart Charities® and the ASPCA have pledged a combined $5.2 million to Humane Alliance, the North Carolina-based national leader in high-volume spay/neuter, to be distributed over the next five years. The grant will increase affordable spay/neuter services by funding the opening of 80 low-cost, high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter clinics across the United States. Combined with the nearly 70 Humane Alliance clinics already open, the clinics will provide up to 800,000 sustainable spay/neuter surgical slots, preventing an estimated 11 million cat and dog births through 2013.
Adoption alone will not solve the problem of pet overpopulation: an estimated 4 million pets are euthanized annually in the U.S. due to lack of homes. “Humane Alliance is the gold standard when it comes to successful high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter,” says Julie Morris, Senior Vice President of Community Outreach for the ASPCA. “Replicating its model program in cities across the country will help us to make real, measurable progress in the fight against pet homelessness and overpopulation.”
Humane Alliance’s National Spay/Neuter Response Team has already trained 79 organizations to open and operate low-cost, high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter clinics in those organizations’ home communities, and is always seeking new groups to mentor.
“PetSmart Charities and the ASPCA have been instrumental to the success of Humane Alliance,” says Humane Alliance Executive Director Quita Mazzina. “Our continued partnership means that we can continue to provide the spay/neuter services that pets desperately need, as well as training for the veterinary community, so that even more pets are sterilized every year.”
Great news, animal advocates: the New York State Legislature and Governor David Paterson have approved a budget bill reinstating a program that helps fund spay/neuter surgeries for pets of low-income residents. Spay/neuter reduces pet overpopulation and the needless euthanasia of adoptable cats and dogs in New York’s animal shelters.
Despite the success of the state’s low-income spay/neuter program, which began in 1996 and has helped fund approximately 90,000 spay/neuter surgeries, its existence was threatened when the 2010-2011 Executive Budget initially proposed eliminated it.
“Without some kind of pet sterilization program to meet the needs of low-income New Yorkers, we would likely experience a large increase in the number of unwanted dog and cat births in our state—leading to further overcrowding in shelters and increased euthanasia,” says Debora Bresch, Esq., ASPCA Sr. Director of Government Relations. “The ASPCA activated our New York Advocacy Brigade and worked closely with legislators—particularly Assembly Members Amy Paulin, Linda Rosenthal and Senator Eric Schneiderman—to help ensure passage of this critical humane legislation.”
If you want to lend a helping hand in getting pro-animal laws passed, join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to learn how to take action when animal-related legislation is pending in your state and in Congress.