No, we’re not talking about weeds, folks. Though they are quite the threat to your garden, the dangers we’re talking about are far more hazardous. In fact, they can be downright deadly.
Every year the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) receives tens of thousands of calls involving animal companions who’ve been exposed to common garden hazards, including the following:
Poisonous Plants When designing and planting your green space, keep in mind that many popular outdoor plants—including sago palm, rhododendron and azalea—are very toxic to cats and dogs. Please visit our full list of toxic and non-toxic plants for your garden.
Fertilizer Just like you, plants need food. But pet parents, take care—the fertilizer that keeps our plants healthy and green can wreak havoc on the digestive tracts of our furry friends.
Cocoa Mulch Many gardeners use cocoa bean shells—a by-product of chocolate production—in landscaping. Popular for its attractive odor and color, cocoa mulch can pose serious problems for our canine companions.
Insecticides Like fertilizer, herbicides, insecticide baits, sprays and granules are often necessary to keep our gardens healthy, but their ingredients aren't meant for four-legged consumption. The most dangerous forms of pesticides include snail bait with metaldehyde, fly bait with methomyl, systemic insecticides with the ingredients disyston or disulfoton and most forms of rat poisons.
Have you heard the news? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is finally planning to crack down on Internet puppy sales! Why, you ask? Well, believe it or not, buying a puppy online is just as bad as buying one from a pet shop—maybe even worse!
Currently, the federal Animal Welfare Act—passed 40 years ago, before the Internet even existed—only requires breeders who sell dogs to pet stores or to puppy brokers to be licensed and inspected by the USDA. The USDA has just released proposed regulatory language to close this loophole.
Don’t Be Fooled! Many puppies sold online come from puppy mills. Most websites that sell puppies online claim to be good dog breeders—they even use fancy terms like “certified kennel”, “AKC-registered”, “pedigree” and “health certified,” and include photos of cute puppies frolicking in ideal settings. The truth is that many of these breeders are really puppy mills in disguise. Trust us, no truly responsible breeder would ever sell their dogs online and have them shipped to your doorstep.
Are you a bargain shopper extraordinaire? If so, have I got an idea for you! How about putting your shopping prowess to the test by purchasing supplies for homeless animals?
Animal shelters and rescue groups often have a need for pet food, toys, pet care supplies (leashes, collars, litter and litter boxes), bedding and operational supplies (cleaning products, garbage bags, newspapers, paper towels and office supplies). The recipient organizations can then use funds that otherwise would have been allocated to supplies for expenses such as veterinary care. Not all of these items always have to be new: Shelters are often very grateful for towels and sheets that are gently used, but clean.
Since organizations have varying needs, it’s always best to check with your local animal shelter or rescue group first to see what types of things they can use. For example, many shelters prefer to give the animals in their care the same food on a regular basis and might not have storage capacity to accept food they do not use, or they might only use environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Often this information is posted on their website, but, if not, a quick phone call can let you know whether the shelter welcomes specific items.
If you are an Extreme Couponer—or a seasoned coupon-clipper—and you decide to use your shopping expertise to help homeless animals, please share your pictures with us! Take photos of your shopping trip, the items you purchased, and the moment you arrived at the animal shelter to present your donation. Submissions will be accepted through this tab on the ASPCA's Facebook page through June 1. We’ll also be taking to our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages, and our blog, to feature how much you’ve donated and show the country your generosity. The top five submissions will receive a special oversized ASPCA shopping tote full of swag.
Last week, animal welfare groups called on California legislators to reject an eleventh-hour attempt to gut an animal protection law passed in 2004. The law bans the cruel force-feeding of ducks and geese, as well as the sale of foie gras produced by force-feeding.
In order to produce foie gras, farm workers shove long pipes down the throats of ducks and geese multiple times each day to force-feed the animals unnaturally large quantities of corn and fat. The process causes the birds' livers to become diseased with hepatic lipidosis and swell up to 10 times their normal size. The birds are then slaughtered, and the diseased, engorged organ is sold as foie gras.
"Force-feeding animals to induce liver disease so people can consume a high-priced hors d’oeuvre is completely out of step with today’s growing commitment to animal welfare," said Suzanne McMillan, ASPCA Farm Animal Welfare Campaign Director. “We are glad California lawmakers stood their ground and kept the humane law in effect.”
Three-month-old Drew was skin and bones the day he arrived at the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital. His owner, Leedell Walker, claimed the pup had not been eating—then proceeded to give up custody of the dog and leave. The hospital team knew something was very wrong and contacted ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement (HLE).
After a full examination, forensic veterinarians confirmed that the near-death Drew was in a critical state of shock and severely anemic. The vets concluded that 37-pound Drew had been starved.
It didn’t take long to for HLE to conclude its case. Walker, 57, was arrested by Special Agent Bradley English and charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty. If convicted, he faces up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Walker is due in Kings County Criminal Court on June 11.
Drew continues his recovery, and now weighs 65 pounds—a 76 percent increase! This handsome boy will soon be made available for adoption.
If you suspect an animal may be the victim of neglect or abuse, please report it.