Today the ASPCA, The Humane Society of the United States and The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association jointly filed a legal petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging the agency to improve care standards for dogs kept in federally licensed, commercial breeding facilities for use in the pet trade. The USDA regulates these facilities—the worst of which are commonly known as puppy mills—but its standards are woefully inadequate and fall quite short of ensuring the humane treatment of dogs.
The rules enforced by the USDA leave a lot of room for dogs to be severely mistreated. Dogs in American commercial breeding facilities can be kept in cages only six inches longer than the dogs in each direction—and these tiny cages may be stacked on top of one another. It's completely legal for these cages to have open wire flooring, and it’s fine to breed female dogs at every opportunity (not allowing their bodies to rest and recover between litters). It’s also legal to breed dogs without screening them for painful and expensive heritable disorders like hip dysplasia and luxating patellas. Take a look at our gallery of breeder photos taken by the USDA to see for yourself what it means for a breeder to be “USDA-licensed.”
The changes we’ve proposed today would dramatically improve the lives of tens of thousands of dogs in commercial breeding facilities by creating stronger, clearer standards for veterinary care, housing, food and water, socialization, breeding practices and placement of retired breeding dogs.
Yesterday the ASPCA hosted a legislative briefing on Capitol Hill to highlight the need for Congress to pass the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act. Dr. Randall Lockwood, ASPCA Senior Vice President for Forensic Sciences & Anti-Cruelty Projects, was among those presenting the overwhelming evidence of the link between domestic violence and animal cruelty.
Many abusers threaten or commit violence against pets as a means to intimidate and control their victims. Sadly, victims of domestic violence often remain in dangerous situations to protect their pets or delay going to a shelter because they fear for the safety of the pets they must leave behind.
The PAWS Act would criminalize the intentional targeting of a domestic partner’s pet, establish a federal grant program to help victims safely house their pets and add veterinary care to the list of costs that victims can recover from their abusers.
During yesterday’s briefing, Representatives Katherine Clark (D-MA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), sponsors of the PAWS Act, and Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, stressed the need for this legislation. We appreciate their leadership on this very important issue.
Chase and Blaze are a dynamic duo looking for a loving home. These two loveable, low-key Shih Tzus are brothers with an inseparable bond, and would do best in a home where they can live and play together!
Both pups get along well with most people they meet, but aren’t always interested in playing with other dogs. Chase and Blaze love to go for walks, and will stick close to their pet parents when out for a stroll. At home, these two couch potatoes love to relax, and are excellent lap dogs. Adopt Chase and Blaze!
Chase and Blaze are available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting them, please call our Adoptions Department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120.
In a landmark announcement last week, McDonald’s Corporation committed to using only cage-free eggs in all of its U.S. and Canada store locations within the next 10 years. Given the purchasing power of McDonald’s, this is huge news for animals.
Battery cages—archaic wire cages in which egg-laying hens are forced to live so closely packed together they can barely move—are still standard in the egg industry. Hens suffer injuries, disease and the repression of their natural behaviors in these conditions. Some states and companies have turned away from this cruel practice, but this move by McDonald’s, which purchases billions of eggs annually, is a giant leap toward our goal of eliminating battery cages for good.
The McDonald’s announcement coincides with efforts by the ASPCA and other groups to pass a historic ballot measure in Massachusetts to ban the sale of products from farms using battery cages, veal crates and gestation crates (severe and cruel forms of confinement that barely allow egg-laying hens, veal calves or pregnant pigs to move or engage in normal behaviors). A large and exciting effort is underway right now to gather enough signatures in Massachusetts to get this measure on the November 2016 ballot. Even if you don’t live in Massachusetts, you can help! Please visit the campaign website to learn more.
Lots of people come to the ASPCA Adoption Center with a “wish list” of traits for their new pet. They have a certain, age, breed, gender or temperament in mind, and we do our very best to provide them with a perfect match. But often, these same people meet an animal that inspires them to throw their whole list out the window, and Natasha was one such person. She and her new cat, Lala, are proof that sometimes, there’s just no formula for a new best friend. Here is their Happy Tail.
Lala arrived at the ASPCA in January after being transferred from the local city shelter with five other cats. She was friendly but extremely shy, and she had a tendency to cower away from loud noises, strange objects and new people. We worried that her reticence would make it difficult to woo adopters, and for weeks she was continually passed over for other, more gregarious pets. Then, just before Valentine’s Day, Natasha showed up.
“I’ve wanted to adopt a cat for a very, very long time, and this year was the first time that I had the capability to do so,” Natasha tells us. After moving into a new pet-friendly apartment in January, she became what she describes as “cat crazy,” stating, “I absolutely needed a cat to join the family. All I could think about was cats!” She spent some time researching shelters in her area, but was ultimately drawn to the ASPCA for our variety of benefits, including the fact that cats over the age of three are free.
You see, an older cat was part of Natasha’s specific plan. She says, “My checklist for what I wanted in a cat included adulthood (as a first-time cat owner, I wanted a cat who already knew itself), self reliance (ability to be left home alone) and, most importantly, a lap cat.”
But when she arrived at the Adoption Center, the very first cat she met was Lala. “Lala was not a lap cat,” Natasha says. “She enjoyed being petted, but only if she got to stay in the far corner of her kitty condo. When we put her in the interaction area, she immediately bolted to hide behind any structure and refused to be bribed with treats.” Thinking that Lala wasn’t the perfect fit, Natasha went on to meet other adoptable cats who fell more in line with her request for “lap cattitude,” but none of them felt like the one. After heading home, she couldn’t get Lala out of her mind. “I realized I may have recklessly given my heart away when I showed Lala’s—and only Lala’s—adoption profile to people whenever I discussed getting a cat,” she says.
A week later, Natasha decided to return to the Adoption Center to “make absolutely certain I wasn’t just delusionally building up my connection to her in absentia,” she jokes. “Nope! I still felt a great rush of affection for her, even when she stayed in the corner of her cubby.” On February 18, Natasha made the adoption official, and she and Lala headed home to begin their new life together.
“I was prepared to wait weeks for Lala to stop hiding under the bed,” Natasha tells us of their initial adjustment period, “but she started exploring the day after she arrived!” The transition continued to go smoothly in the months that followed. Natasha says, “I think the best sign of her increased confidence and comfort is that, when keys would jingle at the front door, she used to bolt into one of her hiding spots. Now, she walks toward the door to investigate. She also loves jumping on my bed in the morning to be petted. I’m quite proud of her.”
In closing, Natasha has a message for the ASPCA volunteer that decided to introduce her to a pet who didn’t quite fulfill her all-important requirement of a lap cat: “Thank you so much for having done so. I love Lala so much, and chances are I would never have been introduced to her at my visit if I had been much firmer with my checklist. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Congratulations to Lala for finding the perfect fit!