Dogs now receiving urgent medical care

Elmwood, Wis.—The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and Animal Humane Society (AHS) are assisting the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office with the seizure of 48 dogs from a substandard, unlicensed breeding facility in Elmwood, Wis. The dogs were seized from the property Friday morning after warrants were served, and the owner of the facility was booked into the Pierce County Jail for mistreatment of animals, not providing proper food to confined animals and improper animal sheltering.

The 35 adults and 13 puppies, all yellow Labradors, were discovered living indoors in small, filthy travel crates, with no access to food or water. Numerous deceased animals were also found on the property. The ASPCA believes the facility to be a puppy mill--a large-scale breeding operation designed to generate profits at the cost of the animals’ health and well-being.

“What we saw here is no way for a dog to live,” said Kathryn Destreza, director of investigations for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “The puppies at breeding facilities are sold for profit, but many people don’t realize that their parents are often kept there for years, subjected to incessant breeding and usually lacking basic care and socialization, resulting in a very poor quality of life.”

“Large scale animal cruelty cases are not something that we encounter often here in Pierce County,” said Pierce County Sheriff Nancy Hove. “When we are made aware of any animal cruelty issues we do the best we can to investigate and hold accountable those responsible. This case started with a complaint from a concerned citizen who was appalled by the conditions these animals were exposed to. Deputies responded to the complaint and determined the allegations had merit. Citizens are encouraged to contact law enforcement when they are made aware of these situations so they can be addressed accordingly.”   

The dogs have been transported to AHS (Golden Valley, Minn.), where they are receiving urgent medical treatment from ASPCA and AHS veterinarians. At this time, the dogs are considered evidence and will be cared for by AHS responders until their custody is determined by the court. The ASPCA is also collecting forensic evidence and providing legal support to strengthen the case and ensure the best legal outcome for these dogs.

"We’re proud to be known as the go-to resource for investigations in this region," said Janelle Dixon, President & CEO of Animal Humane Society. "Our humane agents investigate hundreds of reports of animal cruelty and neglect each year. As a result, we have the experience and ability to care for large numbers of animals, and the medical and behavioral expertise to provide the specialized care these vulnerable animals need."

The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team has rescued thousands of dogs from puppy mills across the nation. Furthermore, the ASPCA’s Government Relations department has been active in promoting legislation at both the state and federal levels to strengthen regulations and raise minimum standards of care for dogs in puppy mills. For more information about puppy mills and how to fight animal cruelty, join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade at www.aspca.org.



About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, and celebrating its 150th birthday this year, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

###

 

German shepherd found with his mouth duct-taped shut on Montauk Highway;
$2,000 also being offered by Suffolk County SPCA

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced that it will offer a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case of a German shepherd found abandoned with his mouth duct-taped shut on the side of a Long Island, New York highway. This reward is in addition to the $2,000 being offered by the Suffolk County SPCA, which is leading the investigation.    

According to Suffolk County SPCA reports, the German shepherd was discovered on Saturday, April 9, on Montauk Highway in Lindenhurst. The dog’s muzzle had been duct-taped shut, preventing him from breathing, eating or drinking properly. The 2- or 3-year-old male dog is currently being cared for by the Babylon Animal Shelter of West Babylon, New York.

“This is a truly sickening case of animal cruelty, and the heartlessness demonstrated by those responsible is shocking,” said Howard Lawrence, vice president of ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement. “While our ultimate hope is that these types of heinous acts never occur, this reward sends a message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated in our society. We thank the Suffolk County SPCA for its commitment to finding justice for this dog.”  

"To leave this dog unable to eat or drink, abandoned and frightened on a busy road is heartbreaking," said Roy Gross, chief of the Suffolk County SPCA.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Suffolk County SPCA by calling 631-382-7722. All calls will be kept confidential.

The ASPCA encourages the public to be vigilant when it comes to reporting suspected animal abuse, and to contact the appropriate authorities that are responsible for investigating and enforcing the anti-cruelty laws in their area.

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, and celebrating its 150th birthday this year, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

###

 

New guidelines will recommend increased jail time and enhanced penalties for the worst offenses

NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) for voting today to strengthen federal sentencing guidelines for animal fighting, including enhancements that specify tougher penalties for extreme offenses.

The new guidelines raise the recommended sentencing range for animal fighting from 6-12 months to 21-27 months jail time—that’s a 250 percent increase in the minimum recommended sentence. The Commission also created a recommended sentencing range of 6-12 months for the new federal crime of bringing a child to an animal fight. Lastly, the revised guidelines explicitly state that causing harm to a large number of animals and performing acts of extraordinary cruelty to animals are grounds for imposing longer sentences.

“Until now the guidelines didn’t reflect the seriousness with which Congress, law enforcement, and the public view this barbaric activity,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “We are grateful to the U.S. Sentencing Commission for voting to give judges the tools they need to ensure the punishment fits the crime.”

These guidelines better represent changes prescribed by Congress in 2008, when it acknowledged the depravity of dog fighting by increasing the maximum penalty for participating in animal fighting from three to five years. Congress strengthened animal fighting statutes again a few years later when they made attending an animal fight a federal offense and added additional penalties for bringing a child. However, federal sentencing guidelines have not been updated to include these increased penalties, creating a discrepancy between what is allowed under federal law and what is expressed in sentencing guidelines. As a result, typical prison sentences for convicted dog fighters averages about six months and most offenders receive probation.

The USSC proposed changes to the guidelines in January, and accepted comments from the public through March. To raise awareness about the need for stronger sentences for convicted dog fighters, the ASPCA launched a public awareness campaign, collecting a record-breaking 50,000 comments – the most ever received by the USSC on a single issue – from members of the public urging the USSC to #GetTough on animal fighting.

Even though dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, it still occurs in every part of the country and in every type of community. In the past 10 days alone, the ASPCA has assisted local, state and federal agencies in four dog fighting cases spanning five states and 17 crime scenes, resulting in the seizure of more than 150 dogs, including the most recent federal case yesterday in Rock Island, IL and Davenport, IA where 64 dogs were seized.

“These new guidelines will go a long way to protect hundreds of thousands of dogs in the United States who are forced to fight and suffer each year purely for the entertainment and financial gain of their owners,” said Tim Rickey, vice president of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response.

In February, U.S. Reps. John Katko (R-NY) and Judy Chu (D-CA) introduced the Helping Extract Animals from Red Tape (HEART) Act (H.R. 4613), federal legislation that will enable judges to require owners of animals seized in federal dog fighting cases to be responsible for the costs of their care, which will speed up court processes to allow these animals to be rehabilitated and adopted into loving homes more quickly.

For more information on the ASPCA or to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.  

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, and celebrating its 150th birthday this year, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

###



ASPCA #HelpAHorse contest will award $100,000 in grant prizes to equine organizations across the country

New research shows at least 2.3 million Americans have a strong interest in adopting a horse

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced the participants in its third annual ASPCA Help a Horse Day grants contest. The nationwide competition of equine rescues and sanctuaries is designed to raise awareness about the year-round lifesaving work they do to care for local at-risk horses who’ve been abused, neglected or find themselves homeless. In honor of the ASPCA’s 150th Anniversary celebration this month, the ASPCA has teamed up with “2 Broke Girls” actress and horse advocate Beth Behrs to spread the word about the contest, which has been expanded to include a total of $100,000 in grant prizes. This year, 191 groups will be hosting events across 42 states during the weekend of April 22-24 as they compete to win a grand prize of $25,000.

“The ASPCA Help a Horse Day contest has grown exponentially over the past few years, and we are excited to celebrate our 150th anniversary by providing even more grants to the dedicated equine rescues and sanctuaries that step in to care for abused or neglected horses and give them a much-deserved new lease on life,” said Jacque Schultz, senior director of the ASPCA Equine Fund. “We are proud to welcome Beth Behrs to the contest this year and we applaud her efforts to raise awareness about wonderful horses available for adoption around the country.”

“I recently adopted my horse, Belle, from a California sanctuary, where I was able to see firsthand the tireless efforts that go into rehabilitating and caring for at-risk horses,” said Behrs. “It’s inspiring to see the creative events being planned around the country in celebration of the ASPCA Help A Horse Day contest, and I am honored to lend my voice to equine protection and to help recognize these everyday heroes for their life-saving work.”

Participating rescue groups will be judged on the creativity of their events, as well as their ability to engage their local communities to assist their efforts to protect horses. Activities include open houses, education and volunteer programs, birthday parties, spring festivals, scavenger hunts and other fun-filled events. ASPCA Help a Horse Day is celebrated annually on April 26 – a date chosen for its significance to the ASPCA’s long history of horse protection. In 1866, ASPCA founder Henry Bergh stopped a cart driver from beating his horse, resulting in the first successful arrest for horse mistreatment on April 26 of that year. The protection of horses has been a core part of the ASPCA mission ever since, which includes supporting equine welfare legislation, advocacy, rescue and targeted grants.

Coinciding with Help a Horse Day events, the ASPCA has unveiled the results of a recent nationwide survey showing that at least 2.3 million Americans have adequate space, resources, and a strong interest in adopting a horse. This new data suggests that there are more than enough homes available for the approximately 125,000 American horses shipped to Canada and Mexico last year to be slaughtered for human consumption.

“For anyone considering adopting a horse or donkey, there’s no better time than an ASPCA Help a Horse Day event to see what the nation’s equine rescues have to offer,” added Schultz. “The strong public sentiment against horse slaughter, combined with the significant lack of awareness that this is a problem horses face, underscores how community events like ASPCA Help A Horse Day are critical to pairing horses in need with the homes that are available.”

Last year, the ASPCA awarded over $1 million in grants to support 124 equine rescues and sanctuaries across the country. The grant money supported several areas of equine welfare including large-scale rehabilitation, emergency relief grants, safety net programs, and the Rescuing Racers Initiative, which aids in the rescue and rehabilitation of retired racehorses to save them from slaughter.

For more information about ASPCA Help a Horse Day or to see if there is an event near you, please visit www.aspca.org/helpahorse.

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, and celebrating its 150th birthday this year, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

###



‘ASPCA 150: Come to Their Rescue’ nationwide campaign and call-to-action honors America’s longest-standing animal welfare organization and its dedication to protecting animals in crisis

Public urged to take 150,000 actions for animals during ‘150 Days of Rescue’ and help their local shelters win a $150,000 ASPCA grant


NEW YORK, NY—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced the start of a months-long celebration of its 150th anniversary this April with ASPCA 150: Come to Their Rescue – a national campaign honoring the ASPCA’s 150 years of animal rescue by inspiring public acts of compassion that will help save and protect dogs, cats, horses and farm animals from cruelty. The Come to Their Rescue campaign will feature multiple large-scale animal welfare programs and events, including a public action campaign and nationwide contest, a video featuring celebrity supporters, and the premiere of the ASPCA’s first-ever documentary.

“When Henry Bergh founded the ASPCA in April 1866, he was driven by a fierce dedication to stop animal abuse and suffering. That drive continues in our work, now supported by modern technologies and an increased awareness and respect for the true value of animals,” said ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker. “But significant challenges to animal lives still remain, which is why this commemoration is as much about the present and the future as it is about the past. We encourage everyone to play a part in advancing Henry Bergh’s legacy by committing to helping vulnerable animals survive, thrive, and find safety in loving homes.”

Animal welfare advocates and supporters will have several opportunities to join the celebration of the ASPCA’s milestone anniversary over the next several months, including:

The “150 Days of Rescue” Action Campaign and Contest (April 10-September 7, 2016)
For 150 days beginning on the ASPCA’s April 10 birthday, the ASPCA will encourage animal lovers to visit ASPCA.org/150days and pledge at least 15 minutes of their time to helping animals in need, toward an ultimate goal of 150,000 acts of compassion through September 7, 2016. Possible actions include volunteering at a local shelter, fostering and/or adopting homeless animals, and advocating for stronger animal welfare laws. Those who log their actions on the campaign website will be encouraged to enter their favorite shelters or rescue groups in a grant contest in which one of these organizations will receive a $150,000 grant from the ASPCA.

The “150 Days of Rescue” campaign will be supported by a short celebrity video conceived and directed by photographer and filmmaker Dewey Nicks, featuring a notable entertainers speaking up for animals in need and encouraging the public to do the same. Celebrity participants include Jason Schwartzman, George Lopez, Adrienne Moore, Julie Bowen, Krysten Ritter, Miles Brown, Beth Behrs, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Jennifer Coolidge, Kesha, Martha Stewart, Edie Falco, Nathan Lane, and Keith Stanfield. The soundtrack for the short film is provided by composer and musician Owen Pallett.

“Adoptapalooza” NYC Adoption Events (April 10, 2016)
In partnership with the Alliance for NYC’s Animals, the ASPCA will hold two public Adoptapalooza events on Sunday, April 10. Taking place in two different boroughs – one in Union Square and another at the House of Vans in Greenpoint, Brooklyn – the mega adoption events will showcase more than 300 adoptable dogs, cats and rabbits – all spayed or neutered and vaccinated – from local shelters and rescue organizations across the city. Adoption fees for all adoptions will be covered by Animal Planet, a generous partner to the ASPCA. In addition to facilitating adoptions, each Adoptapalooza event will feature activities, giveaways, and celebrity pet appearances. Leading up the event in Union Square, the first-ever “NYC Paws Parade” will honor the united efforts of the dedicated groups working to protect the city’s most vulnerable residents as representatives from the ASPCA, the Alliance for NYC’s Animals, NYPD, Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), FDNY and more march down Broadway from 26th to 17th Streets in Manhattan. The parade will include New Yorker and Broadway legend Bernadette Peters serving as Grand Marshal, as well as “Dog Marshal” (and her adopted parents) – canine cruelty victim Charlotte/Pip and Special Guest Marnie the Dog, a social media dog “celebrity” and advocate for senior dog adoption.

“Second Chance Dogs” Premiere on Animal Planet (April 16, 2016 at 9 a.m.)
The ASPCA’s first-ever documentary, “Second Chance Dogs,” tells the story of six fearful dogs rescued from cruel conditions and delivered to the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Madison, N.J., the first-ever facility dedicated to providing behavioral rehabilitation to canine victims of cruelty and hoarding. Through innovative techniques, patience, and commitment, the staff at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center moves these animals from rescue to rehabilitation, and ultimately into safe and loving homes. The goal of this film is to educate the public about the long-term effects of cruelty and neglect, and to promote the adoption of shelter dogs. The documentary will premiere at 9 a.m. ET/PT on Animal Planet. More information about the film and the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center can be found at www.secondchancedogsfilm.com.


About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866 and celebrating its 150th birthday this year, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

###

 

Citywide ordinance will ban the sale of animals in pet stores

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends the Boston City Council for passing an ordinance prohibiting Boston pet stores from selling puppies, kittens and rabbits. It also bans the sale of these animals in city parks and on streets. Introduced by Councilor Matt O’Malley on February 22, the ordinance was passed quickly by the Boston City Council yesterday, and immediately signed by Mayor Marty Walsh.

“The passage of this ordinance will enable consumers and pet stores to obtain wonderful, loving animals from shelters and other humane sources without supporting the cruel puppy mill industry,” said Bill Ketzer, senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Northeast region. “The ASPCA thanks Councilor O’Malley for championing this measure and Boston City Council members for their swift action, and applauds Mayor Walsh for wasting no time signing this into law.”

Boston is the first locality in Massachusetts to ban the sale of commercially bred puppies and kittens from pet shops, and joins more than 120 localities nationwide that have passed similar laws. This ordinance received support from local and national animal welfare groups including the ASPCA, the MSPCA, Animal Rescue League of Boston, Massachusetts Coalition to End Puppy Mills, Best Friends Animal Society and the Humane Society of the United States. The prohibition will apply immediately to new pet stores selling animals, but existing pet stores will have until December 31, 2017 to comply with the new law. The roadside sales ban also takes effect immediately.

Many consumers don’t know that most pet store puppies come from puppy mills – large-scale commercial breeding operations where profit is given priority over the well-being of the animals. These facilities house animals in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water, or socialization. Many of these inherently cruel conditions are legal under federal law, which the USDA regularly fails to enforce.

To raise awareness of the cruel conditions found in puppy mills, the ASPCA has a tool on their “No Pet Store Puppies” website that links pet stores with the USDA-licensed commercial dog breeders that supply them with puppies. The database features over 21,000 photos taken during routine USDA inspections, allowing the public to see first-hand where pet store puppies really come from.

For more information about the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit http://www.aspca.org.

 

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, and celebrating its 150th birthday this year, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

###

 

The HEART Act will enable cruelty victims to find safe and loving homes more
quickly as well as provide much-needed relief to animal protection agencies

WASHINGTON– The ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) commends federal lawmakers for introducing legislation that will significantly improve the process of caring for animal victims connected to federal animal fighting cases. The Help Extract Animals from Red Tape (HEART) Act (www.aspca.org/HEART), sponsored by Reps. John Katko (R-NY) and Judy Chu (D-CA), will permit judges to require defendants to cover the cost of caring for animals seized in federal animal fighting cases. It will also speed up the rehoming and rehabilitation process for these animals.

Currently, when criminal cases slowly wind their way through the court system, animal welfare agencies house, feed, and provide critical veterinary and behavioral care for animals seized in those cases. Many of these animals linger in temporary shelters for several months while ownership issues are resolved, and some decline physically and psychologically from stress, even when high-quality care is provided.

The astronomical cost of sheltering seized animals for extended periods of time depletes the limited financial resources of animal protection agencies and local shelters, making the care of seized animals so prohibitively expensive that most agencies cannot afford to assist prosecutors and law enforcement. This can suppress law enforcement’s ability to crack down on animal fighting operations. This bill preserves due process rights of those claiming ownership of the animals while ensuring that they bear the financial responsibility for the care.

“Animal fighting victims have suffered enough at the hands of their abusers,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “They shouldn’t suffer further while caught in the red tape of the federal forfeiture system. The ASPCA applauds Representatives Katko and Chu for their leadership in streamlining the process to get these victims of cruelty rehabilitated and into loving homes.”

“As a former federal prosecutor, I’ve long-recognized that our system unfairly places the cost of care for abused animals on the American taxpayer, local municipal shelters, and nonprofit organizations,” said Rep. Katko.  “I am greatly appreciative for the many animal advocates, like the ASPCA, who are committed to ending animal fighting and providing quality care and shelter for abused animals.  With this legislation, we’ve streamlined the process so that our local shelters can more quickly provide rehabilitation services and find loving homes for victimized animals.”

“Animal cruelty such as dog fighting is a particularly heinous crime against a defenseless creature. Our government is rightfully vigilant and active in shutting down these rings, but when the animals are seized, the cost and care falls on local shelters,” said Rep. Chu. “Court proceedings can take over a year, which means the cost of doing the right thing can total millions of dollars. Additionally, shelters are unable to rehabilitate these animals until the proceedings have completed, which leaves animals stressed and hostile. It’s unjust that taxpayers and local shelters are picking up the tab for the care of these animals. This bill would help remedy that. I am so pleased to be able work bipartisanly with my colleague, Representative Katko, to help keep animals safe and place responsibility where it belongs.”

Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The ASPCA has worked with law enforcement on more than 100 dog fighting cases, including the two largest dog fighting raids in U.S. history in 2013 and 2009. The ASPCA recently launched a social media campaign and video to urge the U.S. Sentencing Commission to #GetTough on animal fighting by strengthening the federal sentencing guidelines to bring them in line with the maximum prison sentence of five years prescribed by Congress in 2008.

For more information on the ASPCA’s efforts to tackle dog fighting, please visit http://www.aspca.org/gettough.

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

###

 

Emaciated dogs, cats receiving medical care at ASPCA emergency shelter

Bell, Fla.—At the request of the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is assisting with evidence collection and managing the removal and sheltering of 47 dogs, four cats and a horse living in an overcrowded home in Bell, Fla. The investigation was initiated by the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office when a concerned citizen reported a dead horse in the front yard of the residence as well as several dogs who appeared to be neglected. The Sheriff’s Office contacted the ASPCA for assistance, and responders arrived on scene late yesterday and worked through the night to remove and transport the animals to an emergency shelter.

Animals were discovered living in deplorable conditions and exhibited numerous signs of neglect. There was no food on the property, and the animals appeared to be suffering from untreated medical issues and emaciation. Responders confirmed a deceased horse, which was taken to the University of Florida for a necropsy exam. 

“Many of the animals were found in critical condition and we’re pleased to be in a position to help the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office remove these animals from a dire situation,” said Adam Leath, Southeast regional director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “Over the next few days, our Forensic Sciences team will be collecting evidence to support the criminal case, while the animals receive medical exams and behavioral assessments at our temporary shelter.”

The animals were transported to a temporary shelter at an undisclosed location, where the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team will continue to provide much-needed care for the animals until custody is determined by the court. The Florida State Animal Response Coalition (Apollo Beach, Fla.) and Miami-Dade County Animal Services (Miami, Fla.) are assisting the ASPCA with the sheltering operation.

Animal cruelty charges are pending, according to the Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office.
 

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

###

 

Neglected animals receiving medical attention after removal from unlicensed North Carolina “animal rescue”

Raeford, N.C.—At the request of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is assisting with the seizure and care of more than 600 animals from The Haven, a 122-acre unlicensed, self-described animal rescue in Raeford, N.C. The owners of the facility were arrested on charges of animal cruelty after a search warrant was served Wednesday morning. The Department of Agriculture and Hoke County Sheriff’s Office began investigating The Haven after receiving numerous complaints of sick animals adopted from the facility. The ASPCA is assisting with evidence collection, animal removal, transport, sheltering and medical care.

More than 300 dogs, 250 cats and 40 horses were discovered, along with numerous farm animals. The animals were kept in filthy kennels, cages, outdoor pens and paddocks, many without protection from the elements. Many animals are suffering from untreated medical issues including open wounds, severe upper respiratory disease and emaciation.

“What we found today at this facility—self-described as ‘North Carolina’s most successful no-kill shelter’--is unacceptable”, said Tim Rickey, senior vice president of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “This is one of the largest animal seizures the ASPCA has ever conducted in our 150 years as an organization. We have a team of nearly 140 responders on the ground to remove and care for these hundreds of neglected animals who have clearly not been receiving adequate care. Our goal is to help them become healthy and ultimately find them homes.”

The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team is currently providing medical attention to animals in critical condition on the property and the ASPCA’s Forensic Sciences team is collecting evidence to support the criminal case. They will remove the animals and transport them to a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location over the next few days, where the animals will receive medical exams and behavioral assessments. The ASPCA will continue to care for the animals at the temporary shelter until custody is determined by the court and will provide ongoing legal support until resolution of the criminal case.

“The condition of these animals is pressing and required immediate attention,” stated Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin. “In addition to protecting Hoke County citizens, law enforcement has an obligation to ensure the safety and well being of Hoke County animals at all times. We cannot and will not allow this type of mistreatment to continue any longer. All persons involved will be held accountable.”

The Haven has been operating without a license and in violation of many requirements in the North Carolina Animal Welfare Act for at least ten years. The population of animals at the facility has fluctuated over the years, previously reaching more than 1,000 animals. Past inspections by the Department of Agriculture deemed the facility “inadequate”, citing the large number of animals as well as sick and injured animals without access to water.

Agencies assisting the ASPCA with the removal, transport and sheltering operation include: Asheville Humane Society (Asheville, N.C.); Charleston Animal Society (North Charleston, S.C.); Cumberland County Animal Services (Fayetteville, N.C.); Humane Society of Greater Savannah (Savannah, Ga.); Loving Friends Transport (Clear Water, Fla.); North Carolina Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team (Spring Lake, N.C.); Wake County Animal Center- (Raleigh, N.C.); St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center (Madison, N.J.); Wayside Waifs (Kansas City, Mo.); and 808 Equine Rescue (Ewa Beach, Hawaii).

 

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

###

 

New campaign and online video encourages the public to support stronger federal animal fighting sentencing guidelines

To view the ASPCA video, please visit aspca.org/GetTough

NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) has launched a campaign -- including a compelling video – urging the public to actively support stronger animal fighting sentencing guidelines by submitting comments to the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) during a public commenting period which runs through March 21. The comments respond to an amendment proposed by the USSC in January to strengthen the federal sentencing guidelines for animal fighting by bringing them in line with the maximum prison sentence of five years prescribed by Congress in 2008.

Current sentencing guidelines do not reflect the maximum penalty allowed under federal law, which can discourage federal prosecutors from pursuing animal fighting charges that may yield sentences as paltry as six months in jail.

“The current guidelines for dog fighting are woefully inadequate, and don’t come close to matching the heightened seriousness with which Congress, law enforcement, and the public view this barbaric activity,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO. “By proposing to amend the animal fighting guidelines, the U.S. Sentencing Commission moves us one step closer to giving judges the tools they need to both punish these criminals more appropriately and deter potential criminals.”

In 2008, Congress acknowledged the depravity of dog fighting by increasing the maximum penalty for participating in animal fighting from three to five years. They again strengthened animal fighting statutes a few years later when they made attending an animal fight a federal offense and added additional penalties for bringing a child. However, federal sentencing guidelines have not been updated to include these increased penalties, creating a discrepancy between what is allowed under federal law and what is expressed in sentencing guidelines. As a result, convicted dog fighters are receiving disproportionately weak sentences.

To raise awareness about the need for stronger sentences, the ASPCA released a video as part of their #GetTough campaign to help eradicate animal fighting. Featuring interviews with the public, the video reveals the surprise and disappointment of average Americans as they become aware of the terrible disparity between horrific animal crimes and their inadequate penalties.

“This video demonstrates the strong public sentiment that dog fighting is a vicious blood sport that should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Congress recognized the need to take this violent crime seriously by strengthening federal laws on animal fighting, and now we hope the U.S. Sentencing Commission will follow their lead.”

The USSC is expected to vote on the final amendment in April. In addition to increasing the base level jail sentence, the ASPCA is also encouraging the USSC to take into account fighting ventures conducted on an exceptional scale and harming a large number of animals, the egregious neglect and cruelty that occurs in these cases, and the violence of criminals who take part.

Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Although illegal everywhere in the U.S., dog fighting still occurs in every part of the country and in every type of community. For more information on the ASPCA’s #GetTough campaign and their work to end dog fighting, please visit http://www.aspca.org/GetTough.

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

###

Page 1 of 17