Two years ago, Penguin Group USA published The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption, an in-depth look behind the scenes of the Michael Vick dog-fighting case and “where are they now” account of the dogs rescued from his property. The book was a hit, becoming a New York Times bestseller—and we especially loved it for the way it portrayed Vick’s Pit Bull victims as the sweet, heroic dogs they truly are.
Now, Lost Dogs author Jim Gorant has a new book out: Wallace: The Underdog Who Conquered a Sport, Saved a Marriage, and Championed Pit Bulls—One Flying Disc at a Time. Like its predecessor, this compelling book tackles the pervasive myth that Pits are troubled dogs by telling the rags-to-riches tale of Wallace, a shelter dog on death row who beat the odds to become a champion in the sport of canine disc.
Pick up a copy of Wallace for yourself or the animal lover in your life! (Tip: If you order the book on Amazon.com using this link, the ASPCA will receive a small donation at no extra cost to you!)
To learn more about the book and see videos of high-flying Wallace in action, please visit Jim Gorant’s website, www.wallacethebook.com.
In June, we told you about a dog fighting bust the ASPCA and New York Police Department conducted in the Bronx. Today, we’re happy to share some good news: 26 of the dogs have found placements with rescue groups, and another seven of them have placements in the works! We’re hoping continued rehabilitation and forever homes are just around the corner.
Partners that have embraced these canine survivors include St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey; Charles Henderson Animal Rescue in Brooklyn, New York; Columbia Greene Humane Society in Hudson, New York, and Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire in Bedford. Some dogs have also been transferred to the ASPCA’s Adoption Center in Manhattan.
These dogs’ lives are already so different from the ones they led just a few short months ago. On June 21, we found them living in the windowless basement of a six-story apartment building with a makeshift fighting arena.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.
For more than two months, ASPCA responders cared for and provided the dogs with extensive socialization, a healthy diet, medical care and exercise at a temporary shelter. Each dog was carefully evaluated by a team of animal behavior professionals prior to being transferred to the rescue groups.
While the majority of the dogs in this case may be rehabilitated, some were far too dangerous for placement. These dogs were victims of the brutalities of dog fighting—bred over generations to exhibit aggression, trained to fight with lethal intent, subjected to a life of inhumane treatment and, as a result, displayed highly aggressive behavior. After extensive evaluations, all decisions to euthanize were based on recommendations of multiple behavior professionals who weighed in objectively and independently, with the best interest of each individual animal in mind.
The dogs’ owner, Raul Sanchez of the Bronx, was arrested during the raid and arraigned on 63 counts of animal fighting, six counts of aggravated animal cruelty, six counts of animal cruelty, and one count of criminal possession of a weapon. If convicted, he faces up to four years in jail.
The ASPCA’s Legal Advocacy team is providing support to the Bronx District Attorney’s Office in this case.
September is a month of changing routines, and pets across the country are adjusting to new schedules as their family members go back to work or school. Unfortunately, some dogs may have trouble adjusting and start acting disruptive or destructive when left home alone. They may resort to urinating and defecating in the house, howling, chewing, pacing or trying to escape from the house or yard. When these issues are accompanied by signs of panic, distress or depression, they may indicate that your pet suffers from separation anxiety.
But we’re here to help! When treating a dog with separation anxiety, the goal is to resolve the underlying issue by teaching him to enjoy—or at least tolerate—being left alone. Our experts have put together a list of top tips for helping your pooch overcome separation anxiety. Here’s a sneak peek at their advice:
Doctor Knows Best: The first step in tackling behavior issues is to rule out any underlying medical problems that might be causing your pet’s behavior. For example, if your pet is urinating in the house, he might be suffering from a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, diabetes or kidney disease—all of which can cause urinary incontinence in dogs.
Conquer the Fear: If your pup suffers mild separation anxiety, counter conditioning—or helping your dog associate being alone with something good, like a tasty treat—might reduce or resolve the problem. To develop this kind of association, offer your dog a food dispensing toy (like a Kong) stuffed with food every time you leave the house.
Dogs Need Jobs: Providing lots of physical and mental stimulation is a vital part of treating many behavior problems, especially those involving anxiety. Exercise can enrich your dog’s life, decrease stress and provide appropriate outlets for normal behavior. Plus, a tired dog doesn’t have much excess energy to burn when he’s left alone!
September is Puppy Mill Awareness Month—and we’re gearing up for a really cool event. With Pet360 and Catster, we’re co-hosting a Puppy Mill Twitter Chat to answer ALL of your puppy mill questions. Where do pet store puppies come from? What really happens to mill dogs when they can no longer breed? Is my dog from a puppy mill? How can I help?
In addition to spreading awareness, we’ll be giving away lots of really cool loot—like our puppy mill message tee and tote bag! So join us on Wednesday, September 12, from 7:00 to 8:00 P.M. Use hashtag #EndPuppyMills to join the conversation.
As the Southeast continued to cope with flooding in the wake of Hurricane Isaac, ASPCA responders spent Labor Day weekend knee-deep in floodwater saving lives. Because of the efforts of ASPCA responders and others, hundreds of animals—dogs, cats, horses and even deer—are now safe.
In Mississippi, an ASPCA team worked to rescue stranded animals, including a young fawn in Harrison County who became trapped on a small piece of high ground after her mother swam to safety. Just as her patch of land was submerged, our responders arrived to take her to safety. She is now with the Wildlife Rehabilitation and Nature Preservation Society of Long Beach, Mississippi.
Meanwhile in Louisiana five teams—comprised of responders from the ASPCA, Louisiana State Animal Response Team, Texas State Animal Response Team and Calcasieu Parish—together handled search and rescue requests.
A team of responders assisted the coastally situated St. John Parish Animal Shelter in LaPlace, Louisiana, purchasing equipment to deep-clean the kennel after flooding robbed it of most of its space for dogs. St. John’s is getting back on its feet but has severely limited space. In response, the ASPCA transported nearly 70 dogs and cats from St. John’s.
To help local shelters find space to accept animals rescued from flooding, our Animal Relocation team also moved 80 adoptable cats and dogs from Plaquemines Parish and 20 from Jefferson Parish. In total, the ASPCA relocated 90 dogs and 84 cats to shelters with space to care for them: the generous Humane Society of North Texas, SPCA of Texas and the Atlanta Humane Society. (Thank you!)
Our work is not yet complete. If you’re seeking a way to help, you can make a gift to the ASPCA here. The ASPCA relies on the support of compassionate people like you to conduct rescues like this one and to assist animals facing other crises.