As the holiday season approaches, we want to take a moment to give thanks. We are thankful for all the animals who have inspired us, we are thankful for all of the lives we have saved, and, most of all, we are thankful for you.
As the oldest animal welfare organization in the country, the ASPCA has accomplished a lot over the last 148 years. But none of it would have been possible without the support of animal-lovers like you. Your donations are what keep us going, and what make it possible for us to save thousands of innocent animals from lives of abuse, abandonment and neglect.
Guest blog by Jessica Johnson, Senior Manager of Grassroots Advocacy for ASPCA Government Relations.
Are you interested in learning more about key animal-protection issues? Want to find out how you can do more to help the animals in your area? If so, please join me and my fellow ASPCA experts for our free December Webinar Series, where we will discuss several important areas of animal legislation, what has been accomplished, and what work still needs to be done!
Cost of Care Legislation: Empowering Rescue Agencies and Getting Animals Out of Limbo Wednesday, December 10 6:30 P.M. ET (1 hour) Presenters: Debora Bresch, Senior State Legislative Director, Mid-Atlantic Region; Chloe Waterman, Senior Manager, State Legislative Strategy
One of the largest obstacles facing abused animals today is that it costs so much to care for them while cruelty charges are pursued following their rescue. Law enforcement may be reluctant to assume this burden, and local shelters with limited resources may be forced to. Animal victims can remain in shelters for months—or even years—as their cruelty cases wind through the court system. Through this Cost of Care Legislation webinar, you’ll learn how the ASPCA is addressing these problems through the legislative process so that abused animals can be rescued but not left in legal limbo, and shelters can afford to serve other animals in need.
Puppy Mill Laws: How YOU Can Make a Difference for Dogs Wednesday, December 17 3:00 P.M. ET (1 hour) Presenters: Bill Ketzer, Senior State Legislative Director, Northeast Region; Cori Menkin, Senior Director, Puppy Mills Campaign
Dogs in puppy mills spend their entire lives housed in tiny cages, often stacked on top of each other, forced to produce countless puppies all for the sake of a dollar. The ASPCA is working to guard animals against this despicable industry, but we can’t do it without you! By attending this Puppy Mill Laws webinar, you’ll learn the ins and outs of the federal, state and local laws that help crack down on puppy mills, including all the new and innovative approaches that advocates are using to address this horrific problem.
Federal Legislation Wrap-Up: Looking Back at the 113th Congress and Its Impact on Animals Thursday, December 18 6:30 P.M. ET (1 hour) Presenters: Andrew Binovi, Federal Legislative Manager; Carolyn Schnurr, Federal Legislative Manager
The ASPCA works with Congress—100 U.S. Senators and 435 U.S. Representatives—to provide stronger legal protections for animals across the country. But before the 114th Congress convenes in January 2015, let’s review what the 113th Congress did to help animals! In this Federal Legislation Wrap-Up webinar, the ASPCA’s federal lobbyists will discuss what animal-related initiatives have been considered by Congress over the past two years and which bills we should expect to see next year!
Registration for December’s Animal Legislation Webinar series is now closed. Couldn't make it? Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to stay up to date on fun and informational events.
Every now and then, we come across a special dog in our Adoption Center who needs a little extra help finding a home. This week, we’re turning our Adoption Spotlight to Guadalupe, a sweet three-year-old pup who is sure to make some lucky adopter very happy!
Guadalupe came to the ASPCA in May after being rescued from an abusive situation. At first, she was very frightened and hesitant to come out of her kennel, but after extensive training—including learning leash manners with the help of a fake dog—she began to come out of her shell. In fact, once she got comfortable, Guadalupe let us all see what a hilarious goofball she really is!
Guadalupe loves to look at herself in the mirror, chew on pig ears, and put her toys in a pile while she plays with them. She is much more comfortable with women than with men, but she has been living with a foster family since September and has grown to love her foster dad. She enjoys trips to the countryside and has been slowly meeting new dogs and people. Because Guadalupe is nervous with all the busyness of city life, she would do best in a home in the suburbs or the country.
Guadalupe is a very special girl who has been through a lot. She would love nothing more than to open her heart to her very own forever family!
If you are interested in adopting Guadalupe, please contact the ASPCA Adoption Center at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120.
Guest Blog by Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO
One of the most remarkable things about animal advocacy is that, while our mission has never been more urgent, the opportunity to create substantial and lasting change has never been more obtainable.
Whether you represent an organization with strong support and national reach like the ASPCA, or are simply in a position to make a difference locally, every effort has a life-saving impact.
Last week, we recognized some of the most remarkable people and animals on the front lines of that effort by bestowing our annual ASPCA Humane Awards. The recipients we honored include incredibly resilient dogs and cats, organizations tackling animal cruelty and transforming communities, a congressional leader who championed compassion like no other, and a child who gave her most valuable gift to animals in need.
Collectively, they open our eyes to not only to the challenges of protecting animals from cruelty, but also, our ability and duty to better their lives, and – as a result – improve our own. I hope these stories are shared and appreciated so that such laudable behavior will one day shift from remarkable acts by dedicated individuals to social norms of our entire culture.
To that end, I share these stories with you now.
ASPCA® Tommy P. Monahan Kid of the Year, Annika Glover
Alabama native Annika Glover, 11, had been battling a cancerous brain tumor for nearly four years. But when she became a participant in the Make-A-Wish program, she put the needs of vulnerable animals ahead of her own. Annika used her one wish to save shelter animals. This wish was granted by the Alabama chapter of Make-A-Wish, which donated $7,000 in Annika’s name to the Pets Are Worth Saving (P.A.W.S.) rescue group in Florence, Alabama. With her cancer now in remission, Annika spends much time volunteering at shelter events.
ASPCA® Presidential Service Award recipient, Congressman Jim Moran
When Congressman Jim Moran announced that he would retire at the end of his term in 2014, it became clear that animals would lose a longtime ally in Congress. Moran’s unwavering dedication to ending animal cruelty gave a compassionate voice to the voiceless in the halls of Congress. The twelve-term Congressman from Northern Virginia has been one of Capitol Hill’s strongest champions for animal welfare, advocating for causes including ending horse slaughter, cracking down on abusive animal fighting, and introducing a bill to phase out animal testing for cosmetics in the United States. As co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, Rep. Moran worked with legislators on both sides of the aisle to create humane, common-sense legislation, ensuring a strong legacy of accomplishments and advocacy that will no doubt inspire other leaders.
Cat of the Year, Studley
Studley the cat was found abandoned and starved along the side of the road in Washington state in 2006. After making a full recovery, Studley became a therapy cat—giving love and comfort to people in need. The only therapy cat in the program out of more than 30 animals in the Providence Animal-Assisted Activities and Therapy program (PAAA/T), Studley has been a regular visitor to the Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Washington, where’s he’s offered comfort to patients of all ages since 2007.
The ASPCA assisted in the recovery and analysis of forensic evidence from Vick’s property, which helped convict him of operating a competitive dog fighting ring, a federal offense that led to prison terms for Vick and three co-defendants. We conducted medical and behavioral evaluations on the rescued dogs, and placed the 48 who were behaviorally fit for rehabilitation with sanctuaries, rescues, foster homes and adopters throughout the country.
The black and white pit bull, who previously had few if any positive interactions with people or other dogs, was given a new life when he was adopted by foster parents in San Francisco. In 2008, Jonny found his true calling as a therapy dog with a particular affection for children, participating in programs where children practice their language skills by reading aloud to him. These days he spends much of his time offering love and support to terminally ill children receiving medical treatment, and inspired a line of plush toys in his image.
ASPCA® Henry Bergh Award recipient, Lori Weise of Downtown Dog Rescue
During her daily commute eighteen years ago to a furniture factory on the edge of Skid Row in Los Angeles, Lori Weise routinely saw stray dogs suffering from terrible abuse and horrific neglect. Inspired to act, Lori and her coworkers created Downtown Dog Rescue, which has evolved into a large volunteer-based animal charity that rescues dogs and assists underserved communities in South East Los Angeles, Watts and Compton. In 2013, Downtown Dog Rescue created the South L.A. Shelter Intervention Program, which provides pet owners resources to keep their pets at home, rather than abandon them or relinquish them to shelters.
ASPCA® Public Service Award recipient, Commissioner William J. Bratton on behalf of the New York City Police Department
In early 2014, the ASPCA initiated a historic and groundbreaking partnership with the NYPD in which the NYPD responds to all animal cruelty complaints city-wide, while the ASPCA provides expanded direct care support for animal cruelty victims. Thanks to the dedication of tens of thousands of NYPD officers—newly-trained and firmly on the case of animal abuse—animal cruelty arrests in the first six months of the program increased nearly 160 percent, and the number of animals rescued and treated by the ASPCA increased 180 percent. This past summer, the NYPD formed the department’s first Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad, which will solely focus on serving the abused and neglected animals of the city, making New York City one of the safest places in America for animals.
During the holidays it can be difficult to make it out of stores alive, never mind navigating the confusing labels around farm animals’ welfare. If you eat meat, eggs or dairy, look for certifications that require better treatment and independent farm audits, specifically Certified Humane, Animal Welfare Approved and GAP (Levels 2+ for turkeys and 3+ for chickens). Unfortunately, common terms like “humane,” “hormone-free,” and “natural” can be meaningless when it comes to animals’ welfare. Take our label guide with you so you’re armed with facts.
2. Beware of Cheap Meat
Holidays can be expensive, so it’s especially tempting to go for money-saving promotions at the supermarket. But both consumers and animals can pay a steep price for cheap meat, eggs and dairy—in the form of poor animal welfare, poor quality and potential human health risks. Animal products often cost less because companies cut corners with welfare, but all things considered, choosing higher-welfare animal products is a much better deal.
3. Go to the Source
Whether you’re a city mouse or a country mouse, there’s bound to be a farmer’s market in your vicinity. Use this search engine to locate one. There you can often talk directly to people who work on or for the farms to learn how they raise animals. Start by asking about the farm’s policies on cages, debeaking, feedlots and antibiotics. Farmers tend to appreciate an informed consumer, so don’t be shy.
4. Plant Power
Try adding more vegetables to your holiday meal. Veggies are super healthy, look beautiful, and tons of recipes exist to make them taste delicious. You might also try some of the ever-more-available and tasty plant-based alternatives for meat, egg and dairy products. Testing out plant-based versions of old favorites or bringing in new veggie-based dishes is an exciting opportunity to develop new family traditions. Let us know your favorites in the comments section!
5. Ask and Receive
Above all, don’t forget that you have the power to demand more humanely raised products in your stores. This holiday season and going forward, you can impact which brands your grocery store carries. Start by demanding more humanely raised chicken in your stores with our supermarket request letter.