- 1. Flash Floods Leave Hundreds of Kentucky Pets Homeless
- 2. U.S. House Votes to Prohibit Sale and Distribution of Crush Videos
- 3. ASPCA Happy Tails: Maggie May
- 4. Meet the ASPCA $100K Challengers: Part Four
- 5. Update: Horse Farm Owner Charged with 114 Counts of Animal Cruelty
1. Flash Floods Leave Hundreds of Kentucky Pets Homeless
The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team arrived in Pike County, KY, following weekend storms that caused severe flooding and mudslides. The devastating rainfall is being blamed for multiple deaths, and a State of Emergency has been declared for the affected areas. As emergency evacuations and rescues continue, many familiesincluding hundreds of companion animalshave been displaced from their homes.
“Countless numbers of animals have been adversely impacted by the recent flooding and are in need of immediate care and housing,” says Kyle Held, ASPCA Midwest Regional Director of Field Investigations and Response.
On July 20, at the request of the Pike County Humane Society, members of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team were deployed to help with the crisis. The Team is currently working to transport shelter animals to a temporary location and make room for displaced pets. The ASPCA’s new custom designed animal transport trailer is also on hand.
“Emergency transport will help ease the strain on the already full humane society,” says Tim Rickey, ASPCA Senior Director of Field Investigations and Response. “We are grateful to be able to assist the Pike County Humane Society and to be in a position to provide aid for the animal victims.”
Stay tuned to ASPCA.org for more details on this developing story.
2. U.S. House Votes to Prohibit Sale and Distribution of Crush Videos
On Wednesday, July 21, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 416-3 to pass H.R. 5566, the Prevention of Interstate Commerce in Animal Crush Videos Act of 2010. The nearly unanimous affirmative vote, as well as the fact that 262 representatives attached their names to the bill as cosponsors, makes this a decisive victory for animalsespecially considering that the bill was introduced only one month ago.
Representative Elton Gallegly (R-CA) introduced H.R. 5566 in response to the Supreme Court’s April ruling that the original Crush Act, a 1999 federal law banning the creation, sale and possession of materials depicting genuine acts of animal cruelty, is unconstitutional and overbroad in its scope. The Crush Act had succeeded in curbing commercial trade of “crush” fetish videos, which generally depict a woman’s feet as they crush to death small animals such as rodents and kittens. Now, in the absence of any enforceable federal law, this horrific underground industry is on the ascent.
H.R. 5566 amends the Crush Act to prohibit distributing, selling or offering to distribute or sell any depictions of animals being crushed, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or burned where such actions are illegal. Rep. Gallegly reportedly worked with law and constitutional scholars when drafting the bill to ensure that its language is narrowly tailored to be able to withstand strict First Amendment challenges.
Legislation of this kind must pass both chambers of Congress to become U.S. lawand so far, a companion bill to H.R. 5566 has not been introduced in the Senate. Congress will soon enjoy a month-long recess; upon its return in September, the ASPCA will encourage the Senate to take up the Crush Videos Act of 2010. The current federal legislative session (the 111th United States Congress) ends on January 3, 2011, so it is vital that the Senate act with the same speed and resolve demonstrated by the members of the House of Representatives.
We will alert ASPCA Advocacy Brigade subscribers when a Senate version of this bill is introduced, so please join the Brigade today and don’t miss any breaking news about the progress of this and other animal-related legislation.
3. ASPCA Happy Tails: Maggie May
It was a lovely spring day in 2004 when Michelle Hammer of New York met a pooch named Maggie who would change her life forever. Michelle recently sent us a note to share the story of her four-legged survivor, who never gave up, even after enduring years of abuse and illness.
Maggie was an HLE rescue dog who appeared on an episode of Animal Precinct. She captured my heart from the second I saw her in Carl Schultz Park wearing an “Adopt Me!” jacket. She was a beautiful Cocker Spaniel who’d just had one eye removed and was deaf. I followed her back to the ASPCA that same day and brought her home, where she quickly won the heart of her new Pit Bull sister, Kelly.
Maggie later became diabetic and went completely blind, but she stayed independent and never needed my help to get around, nor did she lose her Cocker stubbornness. So many times, she became so ill and was on the verge of death, but I could tell she was not ready to give up. This lasted for six years, and she would always bounce back within two weeks. Even her veterinarian started referring to her as the “Miracle Dog” to all of his clients. The vet was convinced she had lived the first six years of her life in an abusive situation. Now that she found her forever home, she was going to fight to keep it.
Although now gone, Maggie is a classic Happy Tail. The pure love she received and gave in return kept her alive for another six years, much longer than anyone predicted. Maggie was a miracle who touched every person and animal she met, and she loved lifeone eye, deaf, diabetic and all.
To read more stories of furry fate, please visit our Happy Tails archive.
4. Meet the ASPCA $100K Challengers: Part Four
The ASPCA $100K Challenge, which officially kicks off on August 1, is offering $125,000 to shelters across the country to save more cats and dogs and motivate their communities. All month long, we’ve been introducing you to our 50 contestantsmeet six more with their eyes on the prize.
SPCA, Inc., Lakeland, FL: The folks at the SPCA in Lakeland absolutely love what they do. They “eat, sleep and drink” thinking about saving animals’ lives, and spread the word that their pets are “diamonds, just waiting to be treasured.”
Atlanta Humane Society (AHS), Atlanta, GA: Confidence is key! And AHSself-described as “the best ever”has it in spades. Shelter staff works ’round the clock to combat pet overpopulation and, if they win the grand prize, plan to purchase a new mobile spay/neuter vehicle.
Humane Society at Lollypop Farm, Rochester, NY: How can you go wrong with a name like Lollypop Farm? Plus, this compassionate and motivated organization has a veritable army of more than 800 volunteers who are committed to saving animals’ lives.
Humane Society of Boulder Valley (HSBV), Boulder, CO: Self-proclaimed “risk takers who love a challenge,” HSBV promises to bring their A-game to the Challenge. Staff and volunteers plan to implement new initiatives to drive up adoption numbers.
Maui Humane Society (MHS), Maui, HI: What makes MHS a tough contender? Staffers reply, “There is a saying here, ‘Maui No Ka Oi,’ which means Maui is the best! We have an incredible team of staff and volunteers who are enthusiastic, innovative and highly competitive.”
Tallahassee Leon Community Animal Services Center (TLCASC), Tallahassee, FL: Reuniting lost pets with their owners is a primary focus of TLCASC and may give it an edge in the Challenge. Shelter employees hope to motivate and spread the word that “animals are a part of our community, too.”
Check out the Save More Lives Community for additional information about the contest!
5. Update: Horse Farm Owner Charged with 114 Counts of Animal Cruelty
On July 12, Beth Hoskins was charged with 114 counts of animal cruelty, in addition to the 10 counts previously filed, for severely neglecting nearly 200 horses, dogs and cats on her property in Aurora, NY. Earlier this year, the SPCA Serving Erie County seized 73 horses and dozens of cats and dogs from Hoskins’ farm. The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team subsequently oversaw the sheltering and care of the horses. Hoskins now faces up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine per count.
Despite the pending charges, State Supreme Court Justice Joseph R. Glownia ordered the SPCA to return 40 of the seized horses to Hoskins. The unexpected ruling was accompanied by the conditions that Hoskins hire additional employees to care for the animals and that adequate care be provided. The SPCA retains the right to inspect the returned horses and to monitor their care (the remaining 33 horses are still under its authority).
“While the animals were under our care, they received medical, physical and environmental enrichment vital to their daily well-beingmore importantly, time was spent helping rebuild their broken spirits,” says Jeff Eyre, ASPCA Northeast Director of Field Investigations and Response. “I can only hope the same level of care will be maintained under these new circumstances.”
Hoskins pleaded not guilty to all charges and was released without bail. She is ordered to return to court on August 18.
To read the full account of the ASPCA’s recent intervention, please visit our Raids and Investigations page.