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.
We have all seen the shocking photos of Brown Pelicans covered in black oil and other costal fauna washing on shore, but wildlife is not the only population in peril after the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Animal shelters in the affected coastal communities report experiencing two to three times the number of pets being relinquished than the same period last summer.
"The oil spill has had major repercussions for families in the lower Louisiana parishes including pet parents connected with the seafood, tourism and oil production industries," says Julie Morris, ASPCA Senior Vice President of Community Outreach. “A primary focus of the ASPCA is to provide support and resources to communities in need.”
In response to the recent economic hardships that continue to mount for coastal families—the ASPCA, the Louisiana SPCA (LA/SPCA), Best Friends Animal Society and several local organizations have launched the Gulf Coast Companion Animal Relief Program. As the lead sponsor, the ASPCA will offer a generous grant to provide free pet care to residents of Plaquemines Parish, St. Bernard Parish, Terrebonne Parish and Jefferson Parish. It is estimated that this initial contribution will prevent 1,000 pets from facing relinquishment by their families.
“The ASPCA granted over $10 million to the Gulf Coast region in the aftermath of Katrina and is pleased to be help to offer support once again,” says Morris. “Through the generous contributions of our donors, we are pleased to join in this collaborative effort to positively impact the companion animals affected by the Gulf Coast tragedy and improve a dire situation for hundreds of families.”
The free services, provided by licensed veterinarians at the Louisiana SPCA will include:
Basic exams, including tests for feline leukemia and FIV in cats as well as heartworm in dogs
Microchipping and registration
Spay or neuter surgeries
In addition, dog food will be generously donated (while supplies last) by Del Monte Foods.
Thank You! Support from the following organizations has been critical to make this program possible: Del Monte Foods, Best Friends Animal Society, Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, Second Harvest Food Bank, St. Bernard Parish Animal Shelter, Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society, Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter, Terrebonne Animal Shelter and the Louisiana SPCA.