Can we all agree that confining dogs in small cages for 20 to 23 hours a day, almost every day, is cruel?
True, this confinement doesn’t meet legal definitions of cruelty, but, legal or not, most of us who love dogs know that this is wrong. Yet this is the way of life for the thousands of greyhounds who are forced to race in this country’s greyhound industry.
Greyhound racing only occurs in seven states, with the majority of greyhound tracks located in Florida. This week, GREY2 USA, with funding from the ASPCA, released a report detailing the horrific conditions racing greyhounds are subject to in Florida. You can access a copy of the report here [PDF].
Racing greyhounds are in their cages nearly all the time. They are fed “4-D” meat, which means meat that comes from dying, diseased, disabled and dead livestock deemed unfit for human consumption. Their owners feed them this raw meat simply because it is the cheapest available, and they don’t even bother to cook it to destroy the bacteria.
Florida does not require its greyhound racing facilities to report injuries to the public, but we have documentation of dogs with broken legs, backs and skulls; dogs who have died of seizures after racing; dogs who have died of heart attacks; and a dog who was electrocuted. Racing dogs have repeatedly tested positive for drugs such as cocaine.
While the dogs suffer every day as part of this industry, few people even seem to notice. Attendance at greyhound races has dramatically declined through the years, and tracks actually lose money on the dogs. But since Florida law won’t permit dog track owners to continue gambling operations at those tracks unless those tracks hold dog races, the races continue.
Two bills (HB 641 and SB 382) are pending in Florida that would remove the requirement that dog tracks offer live greyhound racing in order to also offer card games or slots. If you live in Florida, please contact your legislators to ask them to support this legislation.
Guilty! Today the Marshall County Prosecutor's Office confirmed that two Mississippi residents—John and Nancy Garrison—pleaded guilty to misdemeanor animal cruelty. The charges stem from a 2010 puppy mill raid when the ASPCA rescued more than 100 dogs found living in deplorable conditions.
John and Nancy Garrison were each sentenced to six months in jail and 11 months and 29 days of supervised probation. They were also ordered to pay $26,847.14 in restitution to the ASPCA and $2,793.19 to the Marshall County Humane Society, which will be suspended pending successful completion of the probation terms. As part of the probation, the Garrisons are prohibited from owning or harboring animals, and/or residing at any residence with animals for five years.
“The ASPCA is pleased the defendants are taking responsibility for subjecting these dogs to a life of pain and suffering,” said Tim Rickey, Senior Director of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team. “The ASPCA appreciates the diligence of the Marshall County Prosecutor’s Office for seeing this case through to the end. We hope to continue our work in investigating puppy mills and rid the nation of this cruel and inhumane industry.”
For more information on the Holly Springs, Mississippi, puppy mill investigation, please visit our puppy mill section.
The ASPCA helps animals in a lot of different ways—from rescuing them from cruelty to spaying or neutering them or advocating on their behalves. What it all boils down to is that we are in the business of trying to save as many lives as we can. To that end, we sponsor the ASPCA $100K Challenge where the contestants compete to save animals and the winners receive money to continue their successful programs.
This year’s $100K Challenge launched in April. Animal shelters that wanted to compete had to qualify by getting online votes, with the top 50 vote-getters qualifying to participate. Contestants then worked to save at least 300 more animals during the months of August, September and October than they did over the same period last year.
How did they do? Amazingly well. The $100K contestants saved 52,484 dogs and cats in just three months—8,977 more lives than last year.
Think about that staggering number. If you think about how much your dog or cat means to you and how much value he or she adds to your life, imagine the significance of being able to save tens of thousands of animals like yours in just three months.
Rising to the Challenge This week we announced the winners of the $100K Challenge. Frankly, every competitor saved lives and was a winner, but we awarded prizes to the groups that had the biggest increases in lives saved.
Austin Pets Alive! in Austin, Texas won the Grand Prize, and the ASPCA was proud to award them $100,000 to continue their stellar lifesaving work.
As you can imagine, this has not been the easiest year for shelters. Many people are having economic difficulties. Our contestants proved that despite the tough economy, people love animals and are willing to step up to save lives.
But Austin had challenges that other communities did not, so the fact that they won is even more impressive. During the three-month contest, Austin was gripped with historically bad weather—record-breaking heat, drought conditions and wildfires.
Austin Pets Alive! rose above the challenges Mother Nature hurled at the community. When the air conditioning went down in the building housing homeless dogs on a particularly sweltering night, volunteers took all of the 50 dogs in that building into their own homes so that not one would have to suffer.
Austin Pets Alive!’s no-kill mission was put to the test by prolonged natural disasters, and they responded by saving 1,673 cats and dogs in just three months’ time—an increase of 850 cats and dogs from the same time period in 2010. We look forward to APA! saving even more animals next year through our grant.
Other communities that won awards all used hard work and creativity to save more lives. Congratulations to our second prize winner and southeast regional prize winner, the Humane Society of South Mississippi (Gulfport, Miss.), which won a total of $45,000; our Community Engagement Award winner, Humane Society for Greater Savannah (Savannah, Ga.), which won $25,000; and our other regional award winners: Greater Androscoggin Humane Society (Lewiston, Maine), City of Independence Animal Services (independence, Mo.), and Ramona Humane Society (San Jacinto, Calif.), each of which won $20,000.
I can’t wait to see how many animals will be saved in the ASPCA’s 2012 $100K Challenge! Stay tuned!
Today is going to the dogs—and for good reason. It’s National Mutt Day! That’s right, a whole day dedicated to embracing, saving and celebrating mixed-breed dogs. We can’t think of a more deserving crew.
With the desire for designer dogs still going strong, one-of-a-kind pups are often left with the short end of the stick. What gives? Mixed breed dogs rock!
They can be well-behaved and loyal family members; they’re just as talented as their purebred counterparts; and do we really need to point out how ridiculously cute they are?
If you’re the proud pet parent of a mixed breed, we hope you’re celebrating National Mutt Day by spending time with your furry companion! And if you’re thinking about adding a new pet to the family, please consider giving a mixed breed a chance.
Thanks to all for making pet adoption your first option!
This past Thanksgiving, I had so much to be thankful for. Of course, I am thankful for my family, including my dog, Jezebel, and my cat, Mr. B, and friends. I am thankful to enjoy good health. I am thankful to be surrounded every day by people who are dedicated to saving animals.
Even on bad days, I try to focus on all the things to be thankful for. Unfortunately, when your mission is to protect animals from cruelty, you often see images you wish you could erase from your mind forever. I know that most of you experience the same heartbreak when you hear about cruelty against animals. We have to steel ourselves against those images so that we can continue to fight on behalf of the animals.
Recently, the ASPCA held its annual Humane Awards Luncheon. One of my favorite award recipients was Mittens who won Cat-of-the-Year.
Mittens is a beautiful and sweet tabby who lives in Baltimore. In January of this year, Mittens was the victim of unspeakable cruelty—two teenage boys trapped Mittens while she was nursing her kittens, doused her in lighter fluid and struck a match. Mittens was able to escape the trap. Even though she must have been in excruciating pain (she had third and fourth degree burns covering 70 percent of her body), she returned to nurse her kittens.
Mittens was rescued by local police and was taken to the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter where she recovered from the loss of her ears and severe burns. Throughout her treatment, Mittens continued to nurse her kittens. Mittens’ story has resulted in new laws being passed in Maryland that protect animals. How can you not be thankful for animals like Mittens?
Thank you to each and every one of you who loves animals and who works to make the world a better place for them—whether that is rescuing a homeless animal, volunteering at a shelter, writing your elected officials to support animal-friendly legislation, or simply spreading the word about how important animals are to you. Wishing you all a happy holiday season!