May 19-25 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, so we’d like to take this opportunity to go over some ways that you can prevent dog bites in your home and in your community.
“The absolute best way to avoid having a dog that bites a person or another dog is to ensure he or she is well socialized as a puppy,” says Dr. Pamela Reid, Vice President of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team. “Puppies go through a period from about 6-16 weeks during which they are very impressionable and, if they have good experiences with people and dogs, are likely to grow up as confident, relaxed, friendly members of society. If the dog is integrated as a member of the family, he or she continues to meet people and maintain good social skills.”
Sadly, children are often the victims of dog bites. There are several steps you can take to teach your child the proper way to interact with dogs in order to prevent dog bites. Here are three important tips to keep in mind:
1. Make sure that your children do not tease or go near dogs behind fences or dogs chained in yards. 2. If your child sees a dog that is loose, teach him or her to report it to an adult immediately and to avoid touching or going near the dog. 3. If a loose dog approaches your child, tell him or her not to run or scream. It is best to stand very still like a tree in this scenario.
The Maryland Legislature passed three great bills for animals this year, and we are thrilled to report that Governor Martin O’Malley has now signed all of them into state law! The new laws establish a statewide spay/neuter fund; close a loophole in Maryland’s animal fighting law by adding a prohibition on “baiting”; and prohibit the sale and possession of shark fins.
Maryland will soon have one of the most robustly funded statewide spay/neuter programs in the country. As outlined in the Spring 2013 issue of our members’ magazine ASPCA Action, the new program will be funded by a small surcharge on commercial pet food brands registered in the state, and is expected to generate approximately $1 million annually by 2016. This small fee on pet food will have almost no effect on pet parents, but a huge, positive impact on efforts to manage pet overpopulation in Maryland.
“This innovative spay/neuter program is one of the most important victories for animals in many years,” says Ann Church, ASPCA Vice President of State Affairs. “This legislation should be used as a model for other states to adopt similar provisions, and we applaud the many local animal shelters and humane groups who worked together to make this new program a reality.”
Inspired by this big win in Maryland? Visit our Advocacy Center to find out you can take action for animals in your state, and share this post on Twitter with the hashtag #TakeAction.
It’s every pet parent’s worst nightmare—temporarily leaving your pets with a trusted caregiver only to find out that things have gone terribly wrong. That’s exactly what happened to one New York City family. Late last month, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) Agents responded to a call from a panic-stricken woman: She had just returned home from an extended vacation only to find her beloved cats were missing.
In a shocking twist, our investigation revealed that the pet sitter, a trusted friend of the family, had purposely abandoned the animals.
“He simply didn’t want to take care of them anymore,” says Howard Lawrence, Senior Director of Operations for the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department. “And that is just not acceptable.”
Video surveillance shows two men transporting the cats from the home in carriers and dumping them in a nearby alley. A witness has also stepped up to corroborate that he saw the incident occur.
Rafael Lugo, 59, and his friend Robert Ramos, 55,were both charged with two counts of animal abandonment. If convicted, they face up to two years in jail and/or a $2,000 fine. To date, the cats have not yet been found.
“Trust was severely violated in this case, and a family is now beside themselves over the loss of their pets,” says Lawrence. “We hope that these two individuals will be held accountable for their actions.”
Anyone with information about the cats’ whereabouts is asked to please contact the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Hotline: 877-THE-ASPCA (843-2772). Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #PetSitterBust
Tomorrow (Saturday, May 18) is Armed Forces Day, which honors Americans serving in the five branches of our military: the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. In addition to the brave men and women who defend our country and assist others around the globe, we’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to another kind of hero—the U.S. military working dog, or MWD.
According to the Department of Defense, in early 2012 there were approximately 2,700 MWDs serving worldwide, keeping us safe and performing important tasks that can be difficult, if not impossible, for people. Some experts estimate that the average military dog saves 150 soldier lives during his or her career.
Thanks in part to the efforts of animal lovers like you, late last year Congress took action in the National Defense Authorization Act to protect these canine heroes. Their post-service adoption processes are being streamlined and the Department of Defense is working on authorizing a veterinary care program at no expense to taxpayers. And while it might not mean much to the dogs themselves, it means a lot to us that all retiring military dogs will receive letters of commendation for their service.
We thank the Defense Department and the U.S. Air Force, which administers the Military Working Dog Program from its Lackland base in San Antonio, Texas, for recognizing that our government’s commitment to these amazing animals’ well-being must extend beyond their period of military service.
Show your appreciation for the selfless service of our canine heroes by sharing this article on Twitter with the hashtag #MilitaryDogs.
As we mentioned earlier today, the House Agriculture Committee moved forward with a new Farm Bill last night. Although the ASPCA is thrilled that the bill includes a provision to make it a crime to attend animal fights, we’re very disappointed that a last-minute amendment proposed by Rep. Steve King of Iowa also passed committee. This amendment would have far-reaching consequences for state laws that protect animals.
The King Amendment would gut existing state laws to protect animals as well as undermine states’ ability to pass their own laws regarding any “agricultural product”—including animals. Because of the broad nature of the federal definition of agricultural products, this amendment could potentially undercut state laws and regulations on a whole host of animal welfare issues, including not only farm animal welfare, but also issues from puppy mills to horse slaughter. This amendment violates states’ rights and is a solution in search of a problem.
“This is a federal law that seriously inhibits a state’s ability to protect animals,” says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of the ASPCA’s Government Relations department. “For example, in California, where a state initiative will require eggs to be cage-free in a few years, the King Amendment would block this type of voter-approved legislation and permit eggs to be transported to California from other states with fewer protections in place.”
Though we’re dismayed by this addition to the Farm Bill, we’ll continue to fight efforts to undermine animal welfare legislation on the state level. Please stay tuned to the blog for the latest news about the farm bill, and join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to learn how you can take action for animals in your state.