S.B. 177 will allow domestic violence victims to keep their pets safe during crises

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today applauds Ohio lawmakers for passing S.B. 177, which will help Ohio’s families and companion animals by giving judges the clear legal authority to include pets in protective orders for victims of domestic violence. The bill now heads to Gov. John Kasich to be signed into law.

“Too often, victims will not flee an abusive situation if they have to leave a pet behind, unprotected,” said Vicki Deisner, Midwest legislative director for the ASPCA. “No one should have to make the impossible choice between escaping an abusive situation and ensuring their pet’s safety. The ASPCA urges Governor Kasich to quickly sign this bill into law to address this pervasive problem and protect Ohio families and their pets.”

Research shows that 71 percent of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abuser threatened, harmed or killed a family pet. Even more concerning, as many as 50 percent of domestic violence victims remain in abusive situations for fear of what would happen if they left their pets behind. Despite the frequency and severity of this problem, only a small percentage of domestic violence shelters across the country accommodate pets.

“The inability to flee an abusive relationship places domestic violence victims, their children and pets at a much greater risk of emotional and physical trauma, and even death,” said Deisner. “The ASPCA thanks Senators Michael Skindell (D-Cleveland) and Jim Hughes (R-Columbus), and Representatives Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) and Marilyn Slaby (R-Copley) for their diligent efforts to pass this legislation as it will encourage victims to seek help and give them the security they need to escape a dangerous environment.”

Twenty-seven U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have enacted laws that include provisions for pets in orders of protection, and earlier this year, the U.S. Congress introduced federal legislation to expand existing federal domestic violence protections to include pets of domestic violence victims. The Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act amends the Violence Against Women Act’s interstate stalking provisions to make crossing state lines to injure pets a punishable offense. It also adds veterinary care to the list of restitution costs that can be recovered by victims, establishes a federal grant program designed to help domestic violence victims safely house their pets, and expresses a recommendation by Congress that states should include pets in protective orders.

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

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 Pinterest.

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As part of 7th annual Subaru “Share the Love” event, ASPCA and Subaru provide grant funding for nationwide animal transports, adoption events

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced the launch of the second straight year of its “Rescue Ride” program as part of the annual Subaru “Share the Love” event. The ASPCA “Rescue Ride” program will help transport thousands of homeless dogs from overcrowded shelters to ones in which they have a better chance of being adopted this holiday season.  Thanks to funding from the annual “Share the Love” event, the program will grant a total of $100,000 in funding to 19 organizations to cover transportation costs.  

This is the seventh consecutive year that the ASPCA has been a beneficiary of the Subaru “Share the Love” event.

In addition to the “Rescue Ride” program, this year the ASPCA has distributed over $160,000 in grants to 50 local animal welfare organizations to host pet adoption-related events and promotions at local Subaru retailers to save lives and raise awareness for animals in need.

“The holidays are a perfect time to rescue an animal and bring it into your home.  With the support of Subaru for the ‘Rescue Ride’ grant program, we can help more homeless pets be relocated to communities where shelters have more empty cages and there is a higher demand for these types of animals,” said ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker. “This grant program ̶ along with the adoption events taking place across the country ̶ will help thousands of animals find homes.”

This year, the ASPCA expanded its national animal relocation program to Los Angeles, Calif., where ASPCA staff performs weekly transports to move animals out of overcrowded Los Angeles shelters. Of the 19 grant recipients from the 2014 “Rescue Ride” program, there are four organizations who are working to relocate animals from the Los Angeles area. The ASPCA’s efforts to support animal relocation programs in Los Angeles is part of the organization’s overall multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment to the Los Angeles metropolitan area announced earlier this year.

During the “Share the Love” event – which runs from November 20, 2014 through January 2, 2015 – Subaru will donate $250 for every new Subaru vehicle purchased or leased to the customer's choice of participating charities, including the ASPCA. Subaru will give up to $15,000,000 in total, with a minimum donation of $250,000 to each of the four national charities.

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 Pinterest.

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“Everyone knows that season four of Scandal is set to premiere tonight on ABC – and that everyone is desperate to know where Olivia Pope jetted off to. But there’s an even bigger scandal out there that the ASPCA wants to uncover: pet homelessness. In fact, the biggest scandal of all is that there are millions of pets in shelters across this country who just want a loving home. Well, the ASPCA wants to fix that.

By creating these six e-cards featuring famous lines from the show with animals available for adoption right now at the ASPCA Adoption Center, the organization would like to remind everyone to make pet adoption their first option and help get a handle on the number of homeless animals waiting in shelters for loving homes.”

www.aspca.org

 

 

 

 

Animals transported to emergency shelter to receive medical attention, treatment

Kendall, Wis.—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), at the request of the Monroe County Humane Investigator and the Monroe County Sherriff’s Office, is assisting with evidence collection and managing the removal and sheltering of 15 dogs and a parakeet living in an overcrowded mobile home in rural Kendall, Wis. The animals were discovered living among feces, trash and rotting food in a poorly ventilated environment.

As a result of an investigation initiated by Monroe County Humane Investigator Bekah Weitz, a search warrant was executed Thursday morning for the removal of the animals.

“Animal hoarding is a complex issue that can encompass mental health, animal welfare and public safety concerns,” said Kyle Held, Midwest regional director of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “Many of the dogs were living in filth, and our immediate goal is to transport them to a safe place where they will receive care and treatment by our medical team.”

“We’re pleased to be able to work collaboratively with our Humane Investigator and the ASPCA to remove these animals from this overwhelming situation and help as many of them as possible,” added Detective Lieutenant Ron Rader with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.

The dogs—ranging from Chihuahuas to Pomeranians—were living in an overcrowded mobile home and exhibited signs of neglect. They also appeared to be suffering from dental disease and dehydration, among other medical issues. As is common in hoarding situations, most of the dogs were not spayed or neutered. ASPCA responders also discovered deceased animal remains on the property.

“The compromised conditions these animals were living in prompted us to take action,” said Monroe County Humane Investigator Bekah Weitz. “It was clear that intervention was needed to help both the owner and the animals. We couldn’t have done it without such great support from all the agencies involved.”

The dogs are being transported to a temporary shelter at an undisclosed location, where they will receive the care and medical attention they need. Agencies including Texas Humane Heroes in Leander, Texas, have deployed responders to assist the ASPCA with the removal and sheltering of the dogs. Additionally, PetSmart Charities® provided supplies, including pet crates and food to support the rescue operation.

The ASPCA will continue to care for the animals at the temporary shelter until suitable placement options are available.

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 Pinterest.

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The special grants program has provided $1.7 million to equine rescue groups across the U.S.

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced that it has granted over $1.7 million to equine rescue groups assisting retired racehorses since launching the ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative in 2010. A major grants program, the ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative aids in the rescue and rehabilitation of retired racehorses to save them from slaughter. The program repurposes the horses for other equine functions and gives them a new lease on life for events or pleasure riding. Now in its fifth year, this total includes this year’s grants: $250,000 to 25 equine rescue organizations as part of the 2014 ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative.

“The ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative began with an anonymous donation of $1 million, and we’ve been fortunate enough to carry on this much-needed grants program thanks to the continued generosity of that donor and many other animal advocates,” said Jacque Schultz, senior director of the ASPCA Equine Fund. “We’re grateful to have the resources to assist these rescues, which provide sanctuary and after-care to retired racers, saving them from ending up at livestock auctions and slaughterhouses.”

The organizations joining the list of rescues and sanctuaries as part of the ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative for 2014 are:

  • Akindale Rehabilitation & Land Conservation, N.Y.
  • Brook Hill Retirement Center for Horses, Va.
  • CANTER/National
  • CANTER, Mich.
  • CANTER, OH
  • Equine Outreach, Inc., Ore.
  • The Exceller Fund, Ky.
  • FL TRAC, Fla.
  • Friends of Ferdinand, Ind.
  • Hidden Acres TB Rescue, Fla.
  • Hooved Animal HS, Ill.
  • Kearney Area Community Fdtn/Double R ER, Neb.
  • Kentucky Equine Humane Center, Ky.
  • Makers Mark Secretariat Center, Ky.
  • MidAtlantic Horse Rescue, Md.
  • Neigh Savers Fdtn, Calif.
  • New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, OH
  • Red Bucket Equine Rescue, Calif.
  • Rerun Inc., Va.
  • Second Stride, N.Y.
  • Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue, Calif.
  • Standardbred Retirement Foundation, N.J.
  • Thoroughbred Athletes, Okla.
  • Thoroughbred Placement and Rescue, Md.
  • United Pegasus Foundation, Calif.

The selected recipients include a wide range of equine rescues from 14 states, and will each be awarded a grant ranging from $1,500–$25,000.  The grant funding helps the groups increase capacity for rescuing more horses and this year primarily focused on training and rehabilitation costs such as veterinary care, therapeutic shoeing, and boarding to recover from career-ending injuries.

“We received 45 applications this year – the highest number of applications to date – and with so many strong candidates, it was difficult to select recipients knowing that lives hang in the balance,” said Schultz. “We are thrilled to provide this opportunity to these rescues to help them in their work to transition ex-racers out of the racing stable and into someone’s show barn or farm paddock.”

“Rescuing is only the beginning,” said Susan Peirce, president and founder of Red Bucket Equine Rescue, one of the grant recipients. “With deep appreciation to the ASPCA Rescuing Racers Initiative, we will be able to continue to rescue, rehabilitate and train deserving equines.”

In 2013, the ASPCA awarded $1.4 million in grants to support equine rescues and sanctuaries in 43 states and the District of Columbia. The grants were primarily awarded as part of the ASPCA Equine Fund, which provides grants to non-profit equine welfare organizations in the U.S. for purposes in alignment with their efforts to protect horses. The grants program seeks to award equine organizations who strive to achieve best practices, including sound horse care, maintenance of updated websites and robust fundraising practices. Since 2008, the ASPCA Equine Fund has awarded a total of approximately $5.5 million to over 450 organizations.

The ASPCA has an extensive history of equine protection around the country and continues to assist domestic and wild horses through legislation, advocacy and targeted grants. To learn more about the ASPCA, please visit www.aspca.org.   

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 Pinterest.

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ASPCA, NY Cares partner with NYPD Community Affairs Office
to help pets and pet owners in Queens

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) Cruelty Intervention Advocacy (CIA) program is partnering with New York Cares and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) Community Affairs Office to launch ‘Operation Gimme Shelter,’ a pilot program to provide free dog houses to at-risk pets.

New York City’s recent frigid temperatures and record-breaking snowfall has increased the number of reports to NYPD about dogs left outside without proper shelter. Working on such cases together, the ASPCA has learned from the NYPD that many pet owners lack the resources or knowledge to provide appropriate housing for their pets. In a proactive measure to help animals in need, the ASPCA is partnering with New York Cares and the NYPD Community Affairs Office to launch Operation Gimme Shelter, a program designed to connect at-risk pets in the 113th Precinct in Jamaica, Queens with appropriate dog houses.

“The ASPCA recognizes that providing free dog houses and support can be an effective means of creating a better environment for these animals,” said Allison Cardona, director of the ASPCA Cruelty Intervention Advocacy program. “Much of what we do involves building trust so pet owners understand that our goal is to help both them and their animals. This is exactly the type of situation that the CIA program was built for—helping animals in need by providing critical resources to the people in charge of their care.”

“New York Cares is excited to team up with the ASPCA and NYPD to provide these important shelters to Queens residents,” said Gary Bagley, Executive Director at New York Cares. “This partnership will help us continue to provide holistic and innovative support to communities throughout the five boroughs.

In addition to a free dog house, pet owners will receive ID tags, one bag of free dog food, behavioral support for their dogs, and educational materials. The CIA program will also be providing pet owners with information on the ASPCA’s free and low-cost spay/neuter and veterinary services.

Earlier this year, the ASPCA announced the full citywide rollout of its strategic and pioneering collaboration with the NYPD to provide enhanced protection to New York City’s animals. With this partnership, the NYPD takes the lead role in responding to all animal cruelty complaints in the five boroughs, while the ASPCA expands its direct care support for animal cruelty victims, including medical treatment, behavior assessments and rehabilitation, and housing and placement. For cases outside of the criminal justice system, the ASPCA continues to leverage its innovative CIA program that gets to the root causes of suffering, including intervention in cases involving hoarding and the provision of critical resources to pet owners who find themselves and their animals in unstable situations. Since its launch in 2010, the CIA program has assisted over 4,000 animals that would likely have otherwise become victims of neglect.

To report animal cruelty in any of the five boroughs, the public is encouraged to call 311 or submit an online complaint. For crimes in progress, individuals should call 911. For more information on the ASPCA, please visit www.aspca.org. For more information on New York Cares, please visit www.nycares.org.

 

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 Pinterest.

About New York Cares
New York Cares is New York City’s largest volunteer management organization. New York Cares runs vital programs for 1,300 nonprofits, public schools, and city agencies to help people in need throughout the five boroughs, and does so at no cost to the recipient organizations. Since 1987, New York Cares has made it easy for all New Yorkers to work together to strengthen the city.

New York Cares’ 59,000 volunteers are hard at work 365 days a year, teaching children the joy of reading, helping low-income students get into college, providing job training to unemployed men and women, giving companionship to elderly nursing home residents, revitalizing public parks and schools, serving meals to homeless and housebound people, donating coats, and more. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, we also deployed an additional 15,000 volunteers to help with disaster response and relief. Last year, New York Cares helped more than 400,000 at-risk New Yorkers. To learn more, visit newyorkcares.org.

 

WASHINGTON—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for passing a provision to crack down on animal fighting in the Farm Bill conference report.  This provision will make attending an animal fight a federal offense and criminalize bringing a child to an animal fight. This version of the bill also excludes the dangerous King Amendment, which would have had potentially devastating impacts for state animal protection laws across the country. The Farm Bill conference report must now be passed by the Senate before being presented to the president for his signature.

“Animal fighting and those who fuel this horrific form of cruelty will not be tolerated in our society,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Children need protection from the dangerous culture of animal fighting, as well as its associated illegal activities such as drugs, weapons and gambling. The ASPCA applauds the House for passing this measure as part of the Farm Bill to combat animal fighting and protect public safety.”

The provision included in the Farm Bill will strengthen federal animal fighting laws by making attending an animal fight a federal offense as well as imposing penalties for bringing a child to an animal fight. This provision is similar to the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act (S. 666 / H.R. 366), standalone legislation with strong bipartisan support in both chambers.

“In addition to strengthening laws against animal fighting,” Perry added, “with this Farm Bill, Congress rejects the King Amendment, an incredible federal power-grab that could have prevented states from passing their own laws to protect animals.  The ASPCA thanks our leaders in Congress for standing up for animals and states’ rights.”

The King Amendment, introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), would have gutted state animal cruelty laws across the country and prevented states from passing their own laws regarding the production of “agricultural products”—a term so sweeping it could have included farm animals, dogs in puppy mills, and many other commercial enterprises involving animals. As a result, improved humane standards and animal welfare laws at the state level would have been negated.

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

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 Pinterest.

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Dogs transported to Kentucky Humane Society for medical treatment, temporary sheltering
Nancy, Ky.—The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), at the request of the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office and Pulaski County Attorney's Office, is assisting in the removal, transport, sheltering and medical treatment of more than 40 dogs from a large, substandard breeding facility—frequently referred to as a puppy mill—called Dream Catcher Kennels in Nancy, Ky. The Kentucky Humane Society (KHS) is supporting the ASPCA with the removal of the animals as well as the medical triage and sheltering operation.
The dogs—ranging from Chihuahuas to bloodhounds—were discovered living in filthy, deplorable conditions. Many have untreated medical issues and were found living with little or no shelter in below freezing temperatures.
Dennis Bradley, 61, the owner and operator of Dream Catcher Kennels, is scheduled to appear in Pulaski District Court on January 22 where he is expected to enter a guilty plea to the charge of cruelty to animals in the second degree, an offense with which he was charged with earlier this year after local authorities received numerous complaints about the conditions at Dream Catcher Kennels. As part of the plea deal, Mr. Bradley has surrendered the dogs at his facility and will face six months in jail probated for a term of 24 months. He will not be allowed to operate a kennel or breeding operation for the duration of his probation.
“We commend Deputy Glen Bland for his tireless work and efforts, along with the ASPCA, to bring Mr. Bradley to justice for operating a facility which exposed so many dogs to the deplorable conditions they were forced to live in,” said Sheriff Todd Wood with the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office. “The collaboration between law enforcement and the ASPCA enabled our agencies to save these dogs from certain demise, and I applaud the ASPCA for being a voice for these animals who otherwise would not receive the care and attention they so desperately need.”
Pulaski County Attorney Martin Hatfield added, “We are delighted to partner with the ASPCA in the investigation and prosecution of this case. Their role has provided valuable resources which have allowed us to not only fully pursue prosecution of those responsible for operating this puppy mill, but just as importantly, the ability to remove, treat and shelter the affected animals.”
“People who run facilities like this are interested in making a profit, not in the well-being of the animals,” said Kathryn Destreza, director of Investigations for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “As is true for most puppy mill dogs, these dogs appear to have gone most of their lives without basic necessities or much exposure to humans. We hope to give these dogs much-needed medical treatment and place them quickly into new homes where they can learn what it means to be a pet.”
The ASPCA and KHS have established a temporary shelter in Louisville, Ky. where the dogs will receive veterinary exams and care with supplies provided by PetSmart Charities, Inc. Once medical assessments are complete, the ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team will begin behavior evaluations and provide socialization and enrichment with support from the KHS before placing them with local and national animal welfare groups to be made available for adoption.
“The Kentucky Humane Society’s veterinary, shelter services and behavior teams will work with the ASPCA to provide the medical attention, behavior help and love these dogs need,” said KHS President and CEO Lori Redmon. “After the ASPCA determines the dogs are healthy and behaviorally sound, we will help them find loving, permanent homes for these dogs.”
The conditions at Dream Catcher Kennels originally came to light after The Humane Society of the United States submitted an undercover video to local authorities.
The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team has rescued countless 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. Kentucky is one of only 20 states without any regulations in place to protect dogs in commercial breeding facilities. Additionally, the ASPCA launched a national “No Pet Store Puppies” campaign, which seeks to raise awareness about the connection between puppy mills and pet stores and end the demand for puppy mill dogs. For more information about puppy mills and how to fight animal cruelty, visit www.nopetstorepuppies.com.
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 Pinterest.
About the Kentucky Humane Society
The Kentucky Humane Society (KHS), located in Louisville, KY, is a private, nonprofit organization that is Kentucky's largest pet adoption agency and oldest animal welfare organization, founded in 1884. KHS advocates the humane treatment of companion animals through leadership and proactive solutions to pet overpopulation, including adoptions, education and spay/neuter efforts. In 2013 KHS found homes for more than 6,300 cats and dogs and saved every adoptable pet it took in. The KHS S.N.I.P. Clinic provides affordable spay/neuter surgeries to more than 10,000 cats and dogs a year. Learn more at www.kyhumane.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
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Latest addition in pioneering educational program will prepare
students for careers in veterinary forensics, teach proper
application of forensic sciences in animal cruelty investigations

NEW YORK—Recognizing the need for continued education in the field of veterinary forensic sciences, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and the University of Florida’s Maples Center for Forensic Medicine today announced a new graduate program that will give students the opportunity to earn a Master of Science degree in Veterinary Forensic Sciences from the University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville, Fla.

The two-year program, which will begin in May 2014, will include courses that focus on pathology, osteology, animal law, and the intersection of farm animal welfare and the forensic sciences. Applications are currently being accepted.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for individuals who are looking to pursue careers in veterinary forensic science,” said forensic entomologist Dr. Jason Byrd, associate director of the University of Florida’s William R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine. “The partnership between the University of Florida and the ASPCA has resulted in unparalleled access to the latest developments in this burgeoning field, including new technologies and improved methods of analysis and investigation.”

Dr. Randall Lockwood, ASPCA senior vice president of forensic sciences and anti-cruelty projects, also praised the launch of the new program. “We’re seeing a stronger emphasis placed on forensics when it comes to the investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty cases, so these skills are becoming increasingly important for veterinarians, law enforcement personnel and other professionals,” said Lockwood. “We’re excited to be working with the University of Florida to offer this graduate-level education program, and continue to foster the application of forensic sciences to veterinary medicine.”

Members of the ASPCA’s forensic sciences team have provided invaluable assistance in numerous animal cruelty cases, including most recently overseeing evidence collection in a multi-state dog fighting investigation. Other notable cases include the rescuing of 175 dogs from a puppy mill in Hot Springs, Ark. and the removal of hundreds of fighting roosters in Fort Myers, Fla.

The ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Sciences Program is the nation’s first such curriculum within an educational institution, and is dedicated to meeting the veterinary forensic science needs of individuals and agencies worldwide, including education, research and applied casework. In 2012, an online graduate certificate program in veterinary forensics was created to complement the traditional curriculum. Since the Program’s launch in 2009, the ASPCA has provided more than $1.6 million in grant funding to develop these initiatives.


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 Pinterest.

About UF Health
University of Florida Health is the Southeast’s most comprehensive academic health center. With main campuses in Gainesville and Jacksonville, UF Health includes six health colleges, seven research institutes and centers, two teaching hospitals, two specialty hospitals, and a host of physician medical practices and outpatient services throughout north central and northeast Florida. Our mission is to promote health through outstanding and high-quality patient care, innovative and rigorous education in the health professions and biomedical sciences, and high-impact research across the spectrum of basic, translational and clinical investigation.

UF Health includes the UF colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Health Professions, and Veterinary Medicine, which includes both a large animal hospital and a small animal hospital. The system also encompasses seven UF research institutes and centers: the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute, the Evelyn F. and William L. McKnight Brain Institute of UF, the UF Genetics Institute, the UF Health Cancer Center, the UF Institute on Aging, the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute, and the UF Research and Academic Center at Lake Nona. 



First annual list from the ASPCA looks back on a year
dominated by animal heroes, presidential pups and pop culture cats


NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today released its list of the top 10 dog and cat stories of 2013. Selected by ASPCA staff, each captured national attention and illustrates the remarkable impact dogs and cats have on our lives.

In no particular order, here are the top 10 stories that truly touched the ASPCA family this year:

  1. Oh Joy! – The ASPCA’s last remaining feline saved during Hurricane Sandy, Joy, finally found a home about a year after she was first rescued and brought to our Emergency Boarding Facility. Her adopter is a Sandy survivor, too, so we can only imagine how lucky they both must feel to have each other.
  2. A boy and his dog – After rebounding from the unspeakable cruelty and neglect she suffered as a puppy, Xena the pit bull mix was later rescued by the Hickey family and their eight-year-old son, Jonny, who is autistic. Before Xena came into his life, Jonny very rarely communicated with others, and sought comfort in solitary activities. Jonny has since forged a miraculous connection with Xena that has truly brought him out of his shell. Xena was named ASPCA “Dog of the Year” at the Humane Awards.
  3. Cat-domination of pop culture – In terms of animals, 2013 was definitely the unofficial year of the cat. Grumpy Cat and Lil Bub reached epic new levels of stardom and shined the spotlight on how amazing special needs cats can be. Felines also invaded film festivals from Sundance to Cannes. And cat lovers even voted a kitty to be the new Monopoly game piece.
  4. Two [Portuguese Water] Dogs are better than one – The First Family learned firsthand this year what many of us have known for years: dogs are kind of like potato chips; you can’t have just one. Bo officially welcomed a new kid sister named ‘Sunny’ in August. Once again, we were all captivated.
  5. Taking a bite out of dog fighting – Working with various animal welfare agencies as well as local, state and federal authorities, the ASPCA played leading roles in the raids of two major dog fighting operations – one in Missouri and another than spanned Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Texas. As a result, hundreds of animal victims were saved from horrific abuse and neglect, and human eyes were opened about the horrors of dog fighting.
  6. A healing feline – Earlier this year, we learned about Koshka the cat. A stray in southern Afghanistan, he struck up a friendship with Staff Sgt. Jesse Knott at his base. When a suicide bomber attacked a nearby military convoy, killing two of his close friends, Koshka stayed by Knott’s side, helping him through one of his darkest moments. Staff Sgt. Knott’s duty in Afghanistan has since ended, and Koshka now peacefully resides at home with him in Oregon. Koshka was honored as the ASPCA “Cat of the Year” at the Humane Awards.
  7. Tornado survivors – From the dogs found alive in the rubble more than a week after the tornados that struck Washington, Ill. and surrounding areas in November 2013, to the exemplary work of shelters like Central OK Humane and the OKC Animal Welfare Division to reunite people with their missing pets after the Moore Okla. tornado back in May, we’ve seen time and again that even the scariest of natural disasters cannot shake the bond between pets and their people.
  8. Closing the puppy mill loophole – In 2013, the ASPCA championed a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) rule bringing Internet dog sellers under federal regulation. Every year, thousands of puppies are sold over the Internet and shipped to consumers like any other product. Websites advertising happy, healthy puppies commonly conceal a grim reality: they’re often fronts for puppy mills—large-scale, commercial breeding operations that rear dogs in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions with complete disregard for the animals’ well-being. This year, the USDA finally stepped into the Internet age by issuing a rule that brings breeders selling animals to consumers sight-unseen under the regulatory umbrella of the Animal Welfare Act. That means for the first time, USDA inspectors will be watching over those animals who’ve been ignored for too long.
  9. The journey to recovery begins – Opening in March, the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center at St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center in Madison, N.J. is the first center dedicated strictly to providing behavioral rehabilitation to canine victims of cruelty, such as those confiscated from puppy mills and hoarding cases. In June, a previously fearful troop of Dachshunds became the very first graduates of the center and all went on to be adopted by loving families.
  10. Heart-warming news – In 2013, science proved what we’ve all known for years: pets are good for your heart. In May, findings from an American Heart Association study told us that having a pet – particularly a dog – is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, fewer heart attack risk factors and increased survival rates. Like you really needed another reason to go out and find your new best friend.


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 Pinterest.

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