Guest blog post from Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations.
Californians, your hard work has paid off! Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed the state’s bill to ban hounding (S.B. 1221) into law. The new law bans the practice of releasing radio-collared dogs loose in the woods to chase and tree bears and bobcats, all so trophy “hunters” can shoot the terrified animals down from point-blank range. California now joins the more than 30 states that do not permit this blatant and needless form of animal cruelty.
We started work early on this legislation, partnering with the many groups and shelters that attended our 2012 California Humane Lobby Day. Hundreds of advocates flooded the Capitol, where we held a rally for the hound dogs and wildlife—and of course, hound hunters showed up to oppose us and the ban. They were determined to preserve this unsporting pastime despite ample evidence of the grotesque abuses inherent to hounding.
Even under such pressure, humane voices won the day. Every time we asked for your help, you responded in full force. Your work has changed your state forever and made it a safer haven for thousands of animals. If you live in California, please take a moment to thank Governor Brown.
In addition to the hounding ban, Governor Brown signed two other great bills for companion animals: Declawing/devocalization (S.B. 1229): Landlords are now expressly prohibited from discouraging potential tenants from applying for housing if their pets are not declawed or devocalized. Cost of care in animal abuse cases (S.B. 1500): This measure clarifies existing law so that anyone accused of animal abuse must provide for the cost of care for animals seized from them. This helps shelters tremendously, and also helps ensure that animals will not end up back in the hands of their abusers.
As a California native, I was thrilled to join our California advocates in-person and work on this legislation! But I’m excited to announce that we now have Sacramento-based Kevin O’Neill, our new Western Region State Legislative Director, aboard to guide us as we take on new challenges in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada. Welcome, Kevin—may this be just the beginning of great things from your states!
From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank you. A few weeks ago, we told you about the hay emergency facing American horse caregivers this year. We told you that persistent drought has put hay in dangerously short supply, and that if we don’t pull together and do something, horses will die.
We asked you to help us feed horses by contributing to our Hay Bale-Out initiative, and we were overwhelmed by the generosity of those who answered our call.
Here’s what happened next.
We told equine rescue groups the good news: The ASPCA has your back, and we can provide hay to help get your horses through the winter. We asked them to tell us what they needed.
Since then, equine groups have been flooding us with requests.
We’re deep in the process of working closely with these groups to meet their hay needs, and our equine rescue friends tell us this assistance couldn’t come at a better time.
“This year is setting up to become a ‘perfect storm’ for equine neglect, as we are already seeing a huge increase in calls and skinny horses,” Gail Vacca of the Illinois Equine Humane Center told us. “Thank goodness many will find relief due to the efforts and support of the ASPCA.”
We’re so grateful for your help feeding horses this year. If you haven’t yet given to this critical effort, it’s not too late! Every little bit counts, and it all goes directly to feeding horses.
Watch ASPCA.org for updates on this life-saving project, and if you haven’t already, consider being a part of it.
Ever wondered if microchips are worth it? If you ask Amanda L., they sure are! Here’s her story:
We adopted our cat Dempsey in January 2007 from the Houston SPCA. Dempsey is the smartest cat we’ve ever met. He plays fetch, drinks water from the faucet and follows you everywhere.
So we were heartbroken when, shortly after a moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 2010, we lost Dempsey. We put up fliers, stayed up at night listening for him and searched the neighborhood for weeks, but with no luck.
We moved to New York City the following year but never stopped thinking about Dempsey and wondering where he could be and whether he was even alive.
Then, one Saturday while we were sitting in the park reading, we received an email from a vet in Ann Arbor—they found Dempsey!
An amazing woman had noticed him around her yard all summer and had been feeding him and looking out for him. They had warmed to each other, and so she decided to take him to a vet to see if he belonged to anyone. The first thing the vet did was scan him and they found our information. It was almost exactly two years to the day since we had lost Dempsey. We still cannot believe it!
Dempsey is currently recuperating with his grandparents in Michigan, and we are going to see him soon. We owe our reunion with Dempsey entirely to the kindness of a stranger and his microchip. We are so thankful that we have him back in our lives!
When Britney came to the ASPCA through the Humane Law Enforcement department, she was in pain and suffering from multiple untreated conditions.
Fortunately, the veterinary staff at the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital was able to nurse Britney back to health, and eventually she became available for adoption; we could finally find a home for this sweet dog who had suffered so much.
We knew it would be a challenge.
Statistically speaking, animals who are black, large or senior, as well as those who take medication or can’t live with other animals, usually spend more time waiting for homes. Britney was all of these things, and to make matters worse, she didn’t engage much with adopters who passed her habitat, preferring to rest quietly.
Still, we knew that the right person would come for Britney, and to speed things along, we spread the word about this special canine. After seeing Britney’s picture and reading about her, Kevin Bechard tells us, “I wanted to snatch her right up.”
A few days later Bechard was going above and beyond to help Britney settle in to her new home in suburban Connecticut.
“The first couple nights I actually slept on the floor with her because she can’t do stairs, and she would just reach out with her paw and make sure it was against me,” he recalls. “Only then she would allow herself to go to sleep. If I moved away a little bit, her eyes would open.”
The love and comfort of a forever home has revived Britney, who has blossomed into a trusting and happy pup: Bechard reports that at his house Britney loves romping outdoors and goes on multiple nature walks a day.
In return, Bechard has gained a new best friend who, he says, never required house-training or manners instruction, thanks to her age. “I wish more people would consider older dogs,” Bechard says. “I was open to anything, but I was so pleasantly surprised.”
As the crisp fall air settles in and bright orange and red leaves swirl down from the trees, what better time to hit the trail? But as you plan your fall wilderness hikes, don’t forget your canine friends! Here are some ASPCA expert tips to ensure your dog’s safety as you explore the great outdoors together.
Pack a leash. With so many nooks and crannies to explore on the trail, it’s best to opt for a non-extending leash to avoid potential tangles with branches and brambles.
Bring IDs, please! Always make sure that your current contact information, including your cell phone number, is attached to your dog’s collar or harness.
Check your records. You never know what you might encounter on a hike through the woods. Before you set out on your journey, make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date.
Give pests the boot. Tick prevention is essential when tromping through the great outdoors. Treat your pooch with PetArmor, a spot-on flea and tick treatment by FidoPharm, one of the ASPCA’s corporate partners.
Leave no trace. Scoop up after your dog when she goes to the bathroom as you would on a stroll through your neighborhood.
Stay hydrated—don’t forget to bring enough water for yourself and your dog. It’s best to avoid letting your dog drink from nature’s water fountains, as puddles, lakes and streams can be home to nasty parasites and toxins that could be harmful to your furry friends.