The ASPCA has been closely following the progress of the federal Farm Bill for months. This mammoth bill contains many complex rules and provisions on a wide array of issues, most of which you haven’t heard anything about unless you’re a politician or a farmer. Now that it’s passed, one provision in particular deserves your attention because it will make a big difference in the fight to end animal cruelty.
Thanks in part to the work of the ASPCA and advocates from around the country, the Farm Bill includes a measure to strengthen federal animal fighting laws by making attending an animal fight a federal offense. It also imposes additional penalties for bringing a child to an animal fight.
These changes send a clear message: animal fighting is so vile, so unconscionable, that accountability shouldn’t end with those participating directly. Anyone attending an animal fight is a participant, and any participation is wrong—especially when you bring along impressionable children or facilitate the events through illegal wagers and admission fees. No child should witness animals being forced to maul each other beyond recognition; or be exposed to grownups torturing animals mercilessly, gleefully, profiting from their pain. It’s not just a traumatic experience for them; it breeds desensitization to violence, abuse, and atrocity. That paints a pretty bleak future.
And if you think animal fighting is a rare event restricted to small communities, think again. You need only go back to last year’s major dog-fighting raids, one in March involving nearly 100 dogs in Missouri, Kansas and Texas, and another in August involving 367 dogs in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas. We were proud to play a leading role in each, but we also know that for every fight we disrupt, many more go on undisturbed.
While we celebrate this law as a victory for animals, we also express relief for what it didn’t include: namely, a dangerous amendment introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) that would have decimated state animal cruelty laws across the country by preventing states from passing and enforcing their own laws regarding the production of “agricultural products.” Such products could include farm animals, dogs in puppy mills, and even locally grown fruits and vegetables. Grabbing that power from the states would set a dangerous precedent and leave animals unprotected.
History shows us time and time again that where there’s money to be made, defenseless animals often pay the highest price. Thanks to our collective efforts, Congress took a stand for them, and for children. It may not be the part of the Farm Bill getting the most attention, but it’s the part best protecting the most vulnerable among us.
The ASPCA will assist the Charlotte community in various ways, including by helping our partner organizations to determine and monitor their goals and strategies. The Charlotte partners will also have the opportunity to apply for substantial grant funding from the ASPCA to address the community’s animal welfare needs. The agencies will have access to ASPCA resources, expertise and guidance, as well as strategic planning support, statistical analysis, training and participation in ground-breaking research projects.
Welcome, Charlotte—we can’t wait to work with you!
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In late January, the ASPCA FIR team rescued 40 dogs from Dream Catcher Kennels, a large-scale, inhumane commercial breeding facility (also known as a puppy mill) in Nancy, Kentucky. Now, nearly three weeks later, the majority of these dogs are ready to put the horrors of breeding behind them and find their true forever homes.
After their rescue on January 21, the dogs were housed in a temporary shelter where they received medical attention, behavioral enrichment and socialization to reduce stress and improve mental health. They are now being transferred to Kentucky Humane Society (KHS) and Capital Area Humane Society (CAHS) in Columbus, Ohio, to be made available for adoption.
“Today is a turning point for these dogs as they move toward life in a home with owners who treat them with respect,” says Jessica Rushin, Partnerships Manager for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response.
Of the 40+ rescues, only six of the dogs are not yet ready for adoption. They are en route to the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Madison, NJ, where they will receive further treatment for under-socialization and extreme fear—remnants of the trauma caused by living in a puppy mill for years. We are optimistic about their success and expect them to be suitable for adoption in the coming weeks.
As for the kennel owner, Dennis Bradley, the future is less bright. He has pled guilty to animal cruelty in the second degree and received six months in jail probated for a term of 24 months. He will not be allowed to operate a kennel or breeding operation for the duration of his probation.
While we are pleased with the progress of this particular case, our work is far from done. If you would like to help, please consider making a donation to the ASPCA. In addition, help us continue our fight against puppy mills by taking our pledge not to buy anything in pet stores that sell puppies at www.NoPetStorePuppies.com.
The state-of-the-art adoptions vehicle will enable AC&C to bring adoptable animals to previously unreachable New Yorkers throughout the City’s five boroughs. The vehicle was purchased with the help of a $60,000 grant from the ASPCA and a $60,000 donation from Fenwick Keats Real Estate.
AC&C’s three full-service Care Centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island are open for adoptions seven days a week, but its facilities in the Bronx and Queens are Pet Receiving Centers and do not serve adopters. With approximately 30,000 cats, dogs and other animals in need coming to AC&C each year, this new Mobile Adoption Center will play a vital role in increasing adoptions as well as raising awareness of shelter pets in need.
We’re excited to be part of this important initiative for animals in New York City. If you’re in the area, please join us for the AC&C Mobile Adoption Center’s unveiling and a special adoption event this Sunday, February 9 at 11:00 A.M. in the Union Square Park North Plaza (East 17th Street between Broadway and Park Ave.). We hope to see you there!
Recently, we told you the story of Callie. Abandoned in a frozen van, Callie was left for dead until the ASPCA and NYPD rescued her. While we were thrilled to report that Callie’s story had a happy ending (she was adopted by the same police officer who found her), it got us thinking about animal abandonment. Though not discussed as often as other, more overt forms of animal cruelty, abandonment is a serious issue. To help understand what abandonment is, how it’s dealt with, and what you can do to help, we’ve answered some of the most Frequently Asked Questions.
What Is Animal Abandonment?
Abandonment laws differ by state, but generally speaking, abandonment happens when an owner or temporary caretaker of an animal leaves that animal in a public or private place (inside or outside) without intending to return for it and without making provision for its continued care.
How Many Animals Are Abandoned Each Year?
Because there is no national reporting requirement for animal abuse, there is no way to track the number of abandoned animals each year. However, we do know 6-8 million companion animals enter shelters nationwide every year. This number includes animals abandoned on the street (found animals) and animals seized after private abandonment in homes or apartments.
Is Animal Abandonment A Crime?
Most states have laws making abandonment of an animal unlawful. It is sometimes a component of cruelty laws, though some states like New York treat it as a separate offense. In New York, it is a Class A misdemeanor.
What Are the Consequences for Animal Abandonment?
Consequences vary nationwide. In New York, it is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $1000. Visit our complete list of animal abandonment laws by state. If an abandoned animal is found to be sick, injured or dead, cruelty charges may also be appropriate. In these circumstances, forensic veterinary work may be helpful.
How Are Abandonment Laws Enforced?
Due to the nature of the crime, it is often difficult to identify and locate the owner or caretaker who has abandoned the animal. ID tags and microchips can sometimes help identify the responsibility party. Unfortunately, there are many instances where owners cannot readily be found and charged for abandonment.
What Can I Do To Help?
If you suspect animal abandonment, contact the police or appropriate law enforcement agency in your area. Visit our Fight Cruelty Page for a list of contacts in each state.