Take Action: Help Extract Animal Fighting Victims from Red Tape
In August 2013, the ASPCA helped rescue nearly 400 dogs in one of the largest federal dog fighting raids in U.S. history. These dogs endured unthinkable cruelty. Tethered with heavy chains in the summer heat without food or water, horrifically wounded and scarred from fighting, they were in desperate need of veterinary care for injuries and neglect. Today, many of these dogs enjoy happy lives in loving homes—but sadly, in the aftermath of their rescue, far too many spent more than a year languishing in shelters due to custody issues.
When victims of cruelty get caught up in the slow-moving legal system, long holding periods can result in serious mental and physical problems—even when shelters provide high-quality care. What’s bad for these animals is also bad for their caretakers: the astronomical cost of tending to seized animals for long periods is a huge burden for animal-protection groups and local shelters. These obstacles can prevent future animal-fighting investigations, meaning fewer animals get saved.
Thankfully, U.S. Representatives John Katko (R-NY) and Judy Chu (D-CA) have just introduced the Help Extract Animals from Red Tape (HEART) Act, new ASPCA-supported legislation that addresses these problems. The HEART Act will enable judges to require the owners of seized animals to be responsible for the costs of their care in federal animal-fighting cases. It will also help animals find homes faster by speeding up the court processes that allow them to be rehabilitated and adopted.