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!
On April 13, police in Long Beach, New York, came upon a horrifying sight near a sewage treatment plant: Two men were street fighting three Pit Bulls by mashing their faces together, rotating the dogs for endurance training.
When it came time to prosecute the two dog fighters, Sha-ron Hicks and Robert Stockdale, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office turned to ASPCA Animal Fighting Expert Terry Mills to serve as an expert witness.
As the trial date neared, defense attorneys tried to block Mills from testifying, but the judge struck down their motion. Soon after, facing a case bolstered by Mills’ expert testimony, the defense folded; Hicks and Stockdale pleaded guilty to felony dog fighting.
Hicks will receive three months in jail, five years of probation, an order not to possess animals for five years, a spot check agreement to support the order, and restitution for related veterinary bills. Stockdale will receive the same sentence, minus the jail time.
This case marks the second and third guilty pleas Mills has helped secure in Nassau County.
We couldn’t have done it without them. This week the ASPCA honoredeight animal welfare groups that went above and beyond to save the animal victims of cruelty or natural disasters. In recognition of their efforts, each received a $10,000 grant.
“We wanted to thank the agencies that helped us do our life-saving work, especially those in the communities affected by devastating disasters this year,” says Jessica Rushin, Partnerships Manager for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team.
Among the 173 animal welfare and rescue groups in the ASPCA’s Response Partnership network, the following groups were acknowledged for their outstanding efforts in 2011:
Columbia-Greene Humane Society in Hudson, NY;
Dumb Friends League in Denver, CO;
St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison, NJ;
Washington Animal Rescue League in Washington, DC;
Spay and Neuter Kansas City in Kansas City, MO;
Wayside Waifs in Kansas City, MO;
Charleston Animal Society in North Charleston, SC; and
Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
“These organizations really stepped up to the plate and did an exceptional job by dedicating resources, time and personnel to help us in the field,” says Rushin. “We are grateful for their assistance and look forward to saving countless more animals in the new year.”