A search warrant was executed Tuesday morning for the removal of 676 fighting roosters, hens and chicks from two separate properties in Fort Myers, Florida. The ASPCA, at the request of the Lee County Sheriff's Office and Lee County Domestic Animal Services, is on hand to assist with the removal of the birds, which were voluntarily relinquished by their owners, and to collect forensic evidence for the investigation of a criminal case.
The seizure is the result of an eight-month-long investigation that is still ongoing, according to the Lee County Sheriff's Office. Many of the roosters were allegedly being raised and prepared for fighting, when such birds commonly suffer from punctured lungs, broken bones and pierced eyes, and are fitted with knives and artificial gaffs—long, sharp, dagger-like attachments—to maximize injury.
"Cockfighting is a violent blood sport where the participants—the roosters—don't have choices," said Tim Rickey, the ASPCA Senior Director, Field Investigations and Response. "These birds are forced to be killing machines for entertainment, during which time they die or are left to die a horrible death."
Forget the rubbery hotdogs associated with most sporting events, this year's US Open in New York City is guaranteed to be a whole lot tastier. Their new Master Chef Cafe will feature dishes created exclusively for the US Open by a roster of celebrity chefs, including Tony Mantuano, Susan Feniger, Jonathan Waxman, Rick Moonen, and ASPCA supporter Carmen Gonzalez-all of whom were in the Champions' Round of the most recent season of Top Chef Masters.
Aside from providing first-rate cooking to hungry attendees, on Saturday, September 4, the chefs will compete in the Master Chef Championship Charity Competition. The chef who sells the most of their specially-created dish will win a $5,000 donation to the charity of their choice. Cooking on behalf of the ASPCA will be Carmen Gonzalez, the former chef/owner of the nationally acclaimed Carmen the Restaurant-named "one of the best restaurants in America" by Esquire Magazine.
"We are thrilled that Chef Gonzalez has chosen the ASPCA as the benefactor of her potential prize," says ASPCA's Claire McCabe, Manager of Corporate Grassroots Fundraising. "We encourage all our members to get out there and enjoy the match-and of course some delicious food!"
Whether it’s a joyride or a long haul, taking your dogs for a drive can be fun for everyone involved—but it’s important always to buckle up your pet. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 30,000 car accidents are caused annually by unrestrained pets. In a recent survey of dog parents by the American Automobile Association (AAA), 59% of respondents admitted to participating in at least one distracting behavior while driving with a dog. More than half pet their dog while driving, and 21% let their dog to sit in their laps.
Any behavior that takes a driver’s eyes off the road increases the risk of a crash, and stopping short can send an unrestrained dog flying, causing severe injury to pet and passengers. The ASPCA urges motoring pet parents to keep their pets safe and secure in the back seat in a well-ventilated crate, carrier, or harness. If you choose a crate or carrier, make sure it’s large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in.
Here are some more tips to keep your end-of-summer road trips festive and injury-free:
Always secure your pet’s crate so it won’t slide or shift in the event of a quick stop.
Resist the urge to feed your furry friend in a moving vehicle—even if it’s during a long ride.
Avoid letting your pet ride with his head outside the car window. He could be injured by flying objects!
Bring along a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity and comfort.
On August 25, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Agents arrested Matthew Soto, co-owner and daily manager of Bark & Play, a dog-boarding and day-care facility in Brooklyn, NY. Soto has been charged with five counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty for severely neglecting several dogs boarded at the kennel.
The investigation began in late June after ASPCA Agents discovered that the facility was housing dogs in extremely unsanitary conditions. The animals were left unattended in poorly ventilated areas saturated with urine and feces. Two underweight Pit Bull mixes named Tango and Sweets were transported to the ASPCA Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, where they were treated for severe urine burns as well as other conditions of neglect. Dr. Robert Reisman, ASPCA Medical Coordinator of Animal Abuse Cases, provided emergency veterinary treatment.
Tango and Sweets were just two of several dogs who had been boarded at the kennel by local rescue groups. "Rescue groups would pay the facility to temporarily board dogs until they found homes for them," says Stacy Wolf, the ASPCA’s Vice President of Chief Legal Counsel for Humane Law Enforcement. "However, several dogs had been left there for months."
Tango, pictured here at the ASPCA, is recovering from his injuries and will soon be made available for adoption.
Soto faces up to two years in jail if convicted. Since the June seizure, Bark & Play has closed its doors to the public.
If you know of an animal whose health is being compromised by neglect or abuse, please report it. Visit our Report Cruelty FAQ to learn how to report cruelty in your neighborhood.
We’re already three weeks into the ASPCA $100K Challenge, and our contestants are showing some great adoption numbers and creative promotions to save more animals’ lives. Check out some of the highlights below, and stay tuned in the coming weeks to learn who else is kicking butt and taking names in the race to the $100K finish.
McKamey Animal Care & Adoption Center in Chattanooga, TN, celebrated the start of the Challenge by distributing free collars and tags to promote the importance of proper ID for pets. “We are working to increase our return to owner (RTO) rates,” reports McKamey. “So often we receive loving animals who we know must have families, but we cannot reunite them with their pet parents because they do not have identification.”
Speaking of RTOs, the Kent County SPCA of Camden, DE, returned a staggering 43 dogs and 3 cats to their pet parents during the first week of the Challenge. Some great numbers are also coming out of Colorado: As of August 13, a mere two weeks into the Challenge, the Humane Society of Boulder Valley had adopted out 118 cats and 65 dogs—“an increase of 49 animals since the same time last year,” they report.
No rest for the weary at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society. When the Alabama shelter was closed one day last week, the organization still managed to turn in some exceptional results. That day, GBHS says, “the Lone Ranger, as we call our only veterinarian here, completed 26 spay/neuter surgeries and eight dentals!”
We’re consistently wowed by the innovative ways the Challengers are getting their communities involved in the action to find homes for needy pets. On August 7, Maui Humane Society assembled a team of 10 adoptable dogs for Pet Night at the Na Koa Ikaika Maui baseball game, where ticket proceeds benefitted the shelter. Meanwhile, the SPCA of Wake County in Raleigh, NC, got out some its favorite animal costumes and held an epic photo shoot with its Pit Crew.