In June we asked you to tell the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) to get tough on dog fighting by committing to stronger sentencing guidelines for convicted animal fighters—and the agency listened. On Friday, August 7, the USSC voted unanimously to examine the sentencing guidelines for animal fighting in the coming year and propose amendments based on changes in the law and the evolving nature of the crime.
The USSC is the independent federal agency that constructs sentencing guidelines as a reference for federal judges. Its guidelines currently classify animal fighting as a gambling crime. Anyone who has seen footage of a fight or an animal fighting raid knows that the real harm of these crimes has nothing to do with placing bets. We thank the USSC for working to make the punishment fit the crime.
Although we treat victims of cruelty nearly every single day, Bea’s story is particularly heartbreaking. After being rescued by the NYPD in January, the two-year-old pit bull arrived at the ASPCA with a horrific head wound. She was extremely shy and very nervous around people, and it was apparent that she had suffered grave abuse. We vowed to find Bea a loving home where she could forget her previous pain, and fortunately, it wasn’t long before we did just that. Here is Bea’s Happy Tail.
When Bea arrived at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, she had a large, bloody gash on the top of her head. It was a suspected stab wound. She received immediate treatment, including multiple stitches, and spent over a month recovering in the Hospital. By early March, she was ready to begin her search for a forever home, but it was clear that her emotional wounds ran much deeper than the physical wound on her head.
During Bea’s Behavioral evaluation, we saw first-hand how the sweet dog had been impacted by the abuse she suffered. Bea was incredibly shy, nervous and fearful; she needed encouragement just to walk past things that frightened her. But despite her timidity, Bea was sweet and affectionate with people she knew. Once someone earned her trust, she would gladly jump into their lap and relish their attention. We knew she just needed patient adopters who would take the time to make her comfortable, and fortunately it wasn’t long before we met Molly and Daniel.
Although Molly and Daniel dreamed of adopting a dog for nearly five years, the couple was juggling multiple jobs and full-time graduate school, which made it difficult to think about bringing a pup into the mix. But Molly says, “All that changed when we met Bea. We fell in love with her and just knew we would figure out a way to make it work.”
On their first-ever visit to the ASPCA Adoption Center, Molly and Daniel were drawn to Bea (or “Beezus,” as they call her) and wanted to meet her. “She was really shy at first,” Molly recalls, “But I could just sense that she was special.” We filled them in on Bea’s story and worked out a course of action: To avoid putting stress on Bea, the couple decided to spend a week visiting her at the Adoption Center to build trust and a connection.
“Beezus was the happiest dog with a great personality,” says Molly, “but she was really shy at first and it took a number of visits before she would even come over to us.” Fortunately, their patience paid off—after a week of visits, Bea had fallen for them just as much as they had fallen for her. “I had a feeling that once we showed her love, her trust in humans would rebuild—and we were right!” Molly says. On March 27, they officially adopted Beezus and brought her to her new home in Brooklyn, New York.
In an update a few months later, Molly was proud to report that Beezus loves her new life. “She settled in better than we ever could have imagined. She is right at home here.” The couple was also happy to learn that Beezus is exceptionally well-trained, which Molly calls “an unexpected gift.” She says that Beezus loves all of her neighbors, loves riding in the elevator and loves playing with the little dogs in the neighborhood. “She also adores tennis balls, her Monkees blanket and endless cuddling.”
It take a special kind of adopter to see beyond an animal’s pain to their true potential, and Molly and Daniel could not have been a more perfect fit for sweet Bea. Molly says, “Some dogs love everyone they meet, which is great, but with Beezus, you have to earn the love and it makes it that much more special.” We know that Molly and Daniel earned Bea’s love, and we are so grateful that this precious pup has finally found the home of her dreams.
The lives of Los Angeles shelter pets just got much happier thanks to some very generous community members!
This past Saturday, August 8, the ASPCA and California Assemblyman David Hadley (R-South Bay) joined forces to raise awareness about local shelters with a special donation drive and pet adoption event benefitting shelter animals in Southern California.
The event asked community members to support the efforts of the Carson Animal Care Center (ACC), a high-intake shelter in Los Angeles County, with donations of pet food, water bowls, toys, litter and other much-needed resources that help the shelter care for the animals that come through their doors. Attendees were encouraged to bring their own furry friends to the event, and the Carson ACC was on-site with adoptable cats, dogs and even two rabbits hoping to meet their forever families.
With nearly 300 people in attendance, the shelter quickly surpassed their goals, finding loving homes for 26 pets and ending the day with a couple truckloads of new supplies.
“We’re proud to team up with Assemblyman Hadley to promote the great work that shelters do to care for animals in need throughout the community,” said Kevin O’Neill, Senior State Director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Western region. “Californians are passionate about animal welfare and we’re excited to honor that with an event providing local residents a way to directly help the homeless animals in their neighborhood.”
During the event, attendees also had the opportunity to speak directly with Assemblyman Hadley and representatives from the ASPCA to discuss ways citizens can help strengthen animal welfare legislation in California.
We want to thank Assemblyman Hadley and all of our supporters in California who were able to make it out to this meaningful event!
In response to objections raised by the ASPCA and the Washington Humane Society (WHS), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has determined that a Washington, D.C. ban on pets in public housing violates federal law. As a result, the D.C. Housing Authority (DCHA) will have to amend its policy and allow pets in housing for the elderly and disabled.
DCHA currently prohibits all pets in D.C. housing projects with the exception of pets already living in senior buildings before 2005. However, the Housing and Urban-Rural Recovery Act of 1983 mandates that owners and managers of federally assisted rental housing for the elderly and disabled cannot prohibit any tenant from having common household pets.
The ASPCA’s extensive research on pet homelessness has found that lack of affordable, pet-friendly housing is consistently a driver for relinquishment.
“Pets provide a source of constant, uncomplicated comfort and have been shown to enhance health and wellbeing, particularly for the elderly and people with disabilities,” says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. “We look forward to working with DCHA to craft a model pet policy that benefits pets and people.”
Other groups who support the proposed changes to DCHA’s pet policy include the AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly, Bread for the City, Legal Aid of the District of Columbia, and the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless
We have exciting news: we are pleased to announce that the ASPCA has acquired Asheville, North Carolina-based Humane Alliance (HA), the nation’s leading training and education organization focusing on high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter—one of the most effective tools the animal welfare community has to combat homelessness and the needless euthanasia of dogs and cats.
HA operates the foremost national spay/neuter clinic training program as well as a unique national veterinary training and education program that teaches best practices to hundreds of veterinary students and private veterinarians every year. HA also operates a local spay/neuter clinic program in counties surrounding Asheville, where the organization plays an important role in local animal population control.
Humane Alliance, now a program of the ASPCA, will expand capacity for vet students and veterinarians and the number of spay/neuter clinics and practitioners trained nationwide. This will make it possible for veterinarians, shelters, and rescue operations to reach millions more at-risk animals with these critical services, dramatically reducing the number of homeless pets entering shelters across the country.
“From our animal sheltering work to field rescues to legislative advocacy, spay/neuter is an essential component of the ASPCA’s animal welfare efforts,” says ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker. “We have long admired and supported Humane Alliance’s innovations in spay/neuter practice and training, and are excited to combine forces to end animal homelessness and suffering around the country.”
Earlier this year, the ASPCA announced its plan to build a permanent ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in nearby Weaverville, North Carolina, following the success of its pilot program in New Jersey. The $9 million, 35,000-square-foot facility will be custom-fitted with individual kennels, outdoor pens and indoor treatment areas. There, experienced behaviorists and trainers will use specialized protocols to help dogs with behavioral challenges become suitable for adoption. The center is scheduled to open in 2017.
We look forward to the many positive changes these new initiatives will bring for millions of at-risk animals nationwide.