Felony Cruelty in All 50 States Earlier this year, more than two centuries after Massachusetts became the first state to punish animal cruelty as a felony offense, South Dakota became the 50th state to enact felony penalties for cruelty to animals. While reaching the 50-state mark is an exciting milestone, there is still much work to be done to strengthen these laws so they give law enforcement the tools they need to protect all animals from cruelty. In response to the horrific “Puppy Doe” case, Massachusetts upgraded its anti-cruelty laws as well.
Animals in Disasters Protected by Congress When a hurricane hits or a large-scale dog fighting bust occurs, animals need vital veterinary care without delay. Congress passed the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, which protects animals during crises by enabling veterinarians to perform life-saving services in the field. The law enables rapid response by allowing veterinarians to carry life-saving and pain-reducing drugs without fear of reprisal. Of the 8,359 pieces of legislation introduced in the 113th Congress in the past two years, this was one of just 296 bills signed into law.
U.S. Horse Slaughter Stopped in Its Tracks The 2014 and 2015 omnibus federal spending bills now include a provision that prohibits the use of tax dollars for horse slaughter, effectively preventing butchering of horses on U.S. soil for FY2015. This victory builds momentum for our ultimate goal of banning the slaughter of American horses entirely and enables us to move forward with plans to stop the flow of our horses to other countries for this grisly purpose.
Puppy Mills Thwarted The majority of states—most recently Minnesota—now have laws on the books to protect dogs in puppy mills. But until this year, there were no laws to stop pet stores from doing business with law-breaking puppy mills, particularly those located in other states. In May, Connecticut passed a groundbreaking law that prohibits pet stores from selling animals from breeders with certain violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act on their records. Similar legislation is currently on the desk of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The New York City Council just took it a step further by also prohibiting pet stores from doing business with USDA Class B dealers, puppy brokers who are notorious for obtaining animals from disreputable, difficult-to-trace sources. In response to increasing online puppy sales, California established import requirements for puppies from other states. Federally, the United States Department of Agriculture issued its final regulation to ensure that the United States is not importing puppies for resale from puppy mills overseas.
Animal Fighting Takedown The federal Farm Bill, signed into law in February, made it a federal crime to attend an animal fight and includes extra penalties for bringing children to an animal fight. And seven years after becoming the last state to make cockfighting a crime, Louisiana increased penalties and closed loopholes in its anti-cockfighting statute.
Domestic Violence Threat Addressed Recognizing the link between violence toward humans and violence toward animals, lawmakers in Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, South Carolina and Virginia all passed laws allowing judges to include pets in orders of protection for victims of domestic violence. Twenty-eight states now have these laws.
Breed Discrimination Is No More at State Level In order to reverse a 2012 court ruling that created a statewide policy of breed discrimination in Maryland, the Legislature passed a new dog-bite liability law that does not single out pit bull-type dogs. There are now no statewide breed-discriminatory laws, and 18 states—most recently South Dakota and Utah—actually prohibit localities from enacting breed-specific legislation.
Greyhound Racing On Its Way Out This year, legislation banning this cruel enterprise passed in Colorado, and Iowa passed legislation that shut down one of its two remaining dog racing tracks. Arizona also enacted a law requiring reporting of Greyhound racing injuries. Greyhound racing is now illegal in 39 states, with tracks still operating in only seven states.
Wildlife Gain Greater Protections Virginia lawmakers approved legislation that will phase out the cruel blood sport of fox penning; Michigan voters repealed two pro-wolf hunting measures at the ballot box; Illinois enacted protections for wolves, bears and cougars; and New York and New Jersey became the first states to ban the sale of ivory from rhinos and elephants.
Congress and most state legislatures will reconvene in January, launching another year of opportunities to strengthen protections for animals. Please join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade below to stay informed of pending animal-protection legislation in your area as we head into 2015.
It’s getting cold outside! As the mercury drops, it’s important to make sure our furry friends are staying warm this winter. Just as for humans,, too much exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and unpredictable wet weather like rain, sleet and snow can spell discomfort for our pets and result in chapped paws and itchy, flaky skin.
If the weather is too cold for you, it’s likely too cold for your pet as well. Help protect pets from cold weather dangers and keep them safe, happy and healthy this winter with these handy tips from our experts.
1.Rapid temperature changes caused by repeatedly coming out of the wet cold into the dry heat can often cause itchy and flaky skin. Make sure to keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside—be sure to give feet and the space between toes extra attention!
2.During cold spells, bathing your pets too often can remove necessary oils from their skin and fur, and can increase the change of skin irritation. Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold snaps, and if your pup must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo or rinse.
3.Longer coats provide more warmth during the coldest months, so give your pets a good brushing! Regular brushing not only gets rid of dead hair, it stimulates blood circulation to improve skin’s overall condition.
4. Dress your pet in a sweater or coat when they head outdoors. This will help retain body heat and prevent skin from getting dry or inflamed during winter walks.
5. Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm during the winter. Feed your pet a little bit of extra food during the cold weather and make sure plenty of water is available to keep pets well-hydrated and prevent skin dryness.
6. Winter walks can turn dangerous quickly if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off legs and paws. Throughout wipe off your dog’s legs, paws and stomach when he first comes inside and be sure to clean up any spills from your vehicle. Consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
7. Remember, pets should stay indoors as much as possible during winter monthsand never leave your pup alone in the car!
Last week, Lou and Joe decided to bring Spike for a visit to the Adoption Center and wondered if the staff would still recognize him. They didn’t wonder long, as staff soon spilled into the Adoption Center lobby, crowding around Spike, greeting him with enthusiasm and even tears.
“This is the best Christmas gift ever!” exclaimed Adoption Center Manager Ruth Allen, who rushed from her fourth floor office after hearing that Spike was in the building.
Animal Care Technician Trevor Simms, one of Spike’s primary caretakers during his 27-month stay at the ASPCA, had planned to take the day off, but didn’t. “I would have lost it,” he said. “Of all the days!”
Robin Persad, a Behavior Enrichment Coordinator, pulled out his phone and took pictures. Despite his big smile, Robin admitted having a lump in his throat. “He was our baby,” he said. “We worked with him for so long.”
Spike seemed to remember where he was and hadn’t forgotten his old friends. He burrowed his snout into Trevor’s pockets in search of treats, sat on command and made himself at home on the bench in the Adoption Center lobby.
The 75-lb. Spike has come a long way since the days when he was emaciated and locked in a basement before being rescued and rehabilitated by the ASPCA.
“He looks like a little man now, distinguished and handsome; before he was just a boy,” said Animal Care Technician Laurie Daniels, who helped coordinate the Liebermans’ visit but kept it under wraps until the last minute.
For Lou and Joe, Spike is now a “staple” at their auto shop, Procom Racing, in Toms River, New Jersey.
“He hangs out on the couch in our office and loves riding in our truck,” says Lou. This past summer, Spike accompanied the brothers to racing events in the Tri-state area, hanging out in their trailer. Joe notes that Spike’s favorite food is “anything we have for lunch,” and that Spike can open doors, even turning knobs and handles. “It’s been a great year,” Joe said.
”Great” doesn’t begin to describe it for Trevor, whose face was soaked in Spike’s kisses: “It doesn’t get better than this.”
If you use the BlackBerry Messenger app on iOS, Android or Blackberry devices, you can now support the ASPCA while you communicate with family and friends. For every ASPCA-themed sticker you send, 3-4% of the purchase price goes back to the ASPCA and our fight against animal cruelty.
For the iPhone and Android users out there, you can let your support for the ASPCA take over with ASPCA-themed wallpapers and icons, available on CocoPPa and HipScreens. 3-4% of the purchase price goes back to the ASPCA.
And for the ASPCA supporters who are gamers, you can now customize your Xbox Avatar’s style with ASPCA-themed digital accessories, props and merchandise. 3-4% of the purchase prices goes back to the ASPCA.