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.

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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.

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As part of 8th annual Subaru Share the Love Event, the 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 third year of the ASPCA & Subaru Share the Love Event “Rescue Ride” grant program.The grant program helps transport thousands of homeless dogs from overcrowded shelters to shelters in areas where they have a better chance of being adopted. Thanks to funding from the annual Share the Love Event, the program will grant a total of $189,000 in funding to 49 organizations to cover transportation costs.  

This is the eighth consecutive year that the ASPCA will be a beneficiary of the Subaru Share the Love Event. In addition to the “Rescue Ride” program, this year, the ASPCA has used these donations to distribute over $150,000 in grants to 45 local animal welfare organizations to host pet adoption-related events at local Subaru retailers to save lives and raise awareness for animals in need.

“With Subaru’s support, we are helping relocate thousands of animals to improve their chances of finding safe and loving homes, and supporting many others through dedicated events and programs,” said ASPCA President & CEO Matthew Bershadker. “This partnership makes a huge difference in the lives of vulnerable animals -- but also for individuals, families, and communities across America who benefit from the love and companionship pets so eagerly provide.”

As part of the Share the Love event – which ran from November 19, 2015 through January 2, 2016 – Subaru donates $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.

ASPCA & Subaru Share the Love Event “Rescue Ride” Grant Recipients are:

Aiding Shelter Animals Project (McComb, Miss.)
Alamo Rescue Friends (San Antonio, Texas)
All Satos Rescue (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
Animal Allies Humane Society (Duluth, Minn.)
Animal Relief and Rescue Fellowship (Leland, Miss.)
Animal Welfare Association Incorporated (Voorhees, N.J.)
Berkshire Humane Society Inc. (Pittsfield, Mass.)
Blackwell Animal Rescue Center (BARC) (Southaven, Miss.)
Camden County Animal Shelter  (Blackwood, N.J.)
Capital Area Humane Society (Hilliard, Ohio)
City of Corpus Christi Animal Care Services (Corpus Christi, Texas)
Colorado Animal Rescue Inc. (Glenwood Springs, Colo.)
Connecticut Humane Society (Newington, Conn.)
Darlington County Humane Society, Inc. (Darlington, S.C.)
Fort Collins Cat Rescue & Spay/Neuter Clinic (Fort Collins, Colo.)
Friends 4 Pound Paws (Gouverneur, N.Y.)
Friends of Homeless Animals, Inc. (North Kingstown, R.I.)
Greenhill Humane Society (Eugene, Ore.)
Homeward Bound Waggin, Inc.  (Quincy, Ill.)
Humane Society of Cherokee County (Tahlequah, Okla.)
Humane Society of Dover Stewart County Incorporated (Indian Mound, Tenn.)
Humane Society of Jefferson County (Jefferson City, Tenn.)
Humane Society of Lincoln County (Fayetteville, Tenn.)
Husky House, Inc. (Matawan, N.J.)
Idaho Humane Society, Inc. (Boise, Idaho)
Johnson County Animal Control (Franklin, Ind.)
Kauai Humane Society (Lihue, Hawaii)
Kentucky Humane Society (Louisville, Ky.)
Laguna Madre Humane Society  (Port Isabel, Texas)
Little Guild of Saint Francis (West Cornwall, Conn.)
Lucky Dog Animal Rescue (Arlington, Va.)
Nate's Honor Animal Rescue (Bradenton, Fla.)
National Great Pyrenees Rescue (Maplecrest, N.Y.)
Nevada Humane Society, Inc. (Reno, Nev.)
No Paws Left Behind (Bakersfield, Calif.)
Peaceful Animal Adoption Shelter, Inc. (Vinita, Okla.)
Prairie Paws Animal Shelter, Inc. (Ottawa, Kan.)
Rock County Humane Society (Janesville, Wis.)
Santa Fe Animal Shelter, Inc. (Santa Fe, N.M.)
Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center (Lyndhurst, Va.)
South Ogden Animal Services (South Ogden, Utah)
SPCA of Texas (Dallas, Texas)
Stafford Animal Shelter (Livingston, Mont.)
TAILS Humane Society  (DeKalb, Ill.)
The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland (Westbrook, Maine)
The Delta Humane Society of Louisiana  (Rayville, La.)
The Humane Society of Jackson County, Inc. (Sylva, N.C.)
Vanderburgh Humane Society, Inc. (Evansville, Ind.)
Wharton County Stray Pet Outreach Team (Wharton, Texas)

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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Bill will also improve animal welfare standards in federal research

WASHINGTON— The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) today commends Congress for crafting an omnibus spending bill that will effectively continue a federal ban on horse slaughter in the U.S. as well as improve animal welfare standards at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center (USMARC) and other federally-operated agricultural research centers.

“The ASPCA applauds Congressional Leadership for taking the critical and necessary steps to protect animals through this omnibus legislation,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations.  “Congress has rightly voiced their support to continue the long-standing ban on horse slaughter in America as well as to require USMARC to improve its animal welfare standards. The ASPCA thanks Congress for standing up for these important animal protection issues. If signed into law, these will be two huge victories for our nation’s animals.”

Whether horse slaughter occurs in the U.S. or abroad, methods used to slaughter horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses are difficult to stun and often remain conscious during their butchering and dismemberment. The majority of horses killed for human consumption are young, healthy animals who could otherwise go on to lead productive lives with loving owners. In addition, meat from American horses is unsafe for human consumption since horses are not raised as food animals. Horses are routinely given medications and other substances that are toxic to humans and expressly forbidden by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption.

The omnibus package also includes a robust provision requiring the USDA to ensure that all research conducted at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center and other federal agricultural research locations adheres to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), including necessary inspection and reporting requirements, linking $57 million of USDA’s budget to this mandate.

For more information about the ASPCA, or 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 Instagram.

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Lack of access to both affordable veterinary care and pet-friendly housing among reasons cited by pet owners

NEW YORK, NY—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today released results of a published research study addressing the re-homing of cats and dogs in the United States, as well as the reasons behind why many pet owners feel they have no other choice but to re-home their pets.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed Open Journal of Animal Sciences, reveals that an estimated 6.12 million households are re-homing, or surrendering, their pets every five years – meaning that more than 1 million households are re-homing their pets each year. The study aimed to uncover how and why these pet owners are re-homing their pets.

“While some of the reasons people re-home their pets are quite complex and difficult to change, many reasons given by the respondents in this study might have been easily resolved through affordable, accessible veterinary care, pet-friendly housing and access to other supplies and resources,” said Dr. Emily Weiss, vice president of research and development for the ASPCA. “Knowing that many pet owners would’ve opted to keep their pet with them if they’d had access to such critical services   illustrates the need for programs and services that intervene and reach these pet owners before they’re forced to make this difficult decision. This is especially crucial in underserved communities where poverty rates are high and access to resources is limited.”   

Of pet owners surveyed who reported having given up a pet within the last five years, the following trends were uncovered:

  • Re-homed pets were most often given to a friend or family member (37%), closely followed by being taken to a shelter (36%). Other re-homing options included being taken to a veterinarian (14%), being given to someone not previously known (11%) and being set free (1%).
     
  • The most common primary reasons for re-homing a pet were related to the pets themselves (46%), followed by family situations (27%) and housing issues (18%).
     
  • Among the 46% who responded that they gave up a pet due to a pet-related issue, 26% said they could not afford medical care for their pets’ health problems.
     
  • When pet owners with incomes lower than $50,000 were asked which service might have helped them the most, the majority indicated free or low cost veterinary care (40%).  Other resources indicated were free or low-cost training or behavior help (34%)), access to pet-friendly housing (33%), free or low-cost spay/neuter services (30%), free or low cost pet food (30%), free or low cost temporary pet care or boarding (30%) and assistance in paying pet deposits for housing (17%).
     
  • Of those who reported housing-related issues as their main reason for re-homing pets, 43% cited issues with their landlord, while 39% said that they did not have enough space. For respondents who rent instead of own, housing-related issues were the number one reason for re-homing.   

One of the most powerful findings in the study was the stark difference in responses between those with a household income below $50,000 and those with a household income above $50,000.  Those with income below $50,000 were significantly more likely to re-home due to cost and housing issues as opposed to pet-related issues. They were also more likely to re-home all pets in the household at once.

“Efforts to address animal homelessness often focus on helping animals in shelters, but this research and our own community-focused programs show we need to focus just as much on keeping pets from entering shelters in the first place, specifically by helping owners access critical resources,” said Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA. “When pets are kept out of shelters, it not only protects those animals, but keeps families together, and frees up critical shelter space and supplies for other animals in need.”

The ASPCA has seen firsthand how providing access to resources can help pets at risk. In June 2014, the ASPCA launched a “safety net” program at two of the highest intake Los Angeles County shelters. Since its launch, the program has assisted over 4,100 animals who were at risk of entering the shelter system. Early follow-up with a small sample of clients has reported that over 80% of these pets still remain in their homes. Over the past five years, the ASPCA has distributed nearly $4 million in grants to over 300 organizations in 46 states to support safety net programs. 

The ASPCA estimates that of the approximately 7.6 million pets who enter animal shelters each year, approximately 2.7 million are euthanized.

 

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.

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NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the American Red Cross issued the following statements in response to California Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of AB 317, an important bill that would have enabled emergency responders to establish temporary animal shelters to assist animals in need during disasters. Sponsored by Assembly Member Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego), AB 317 overwhelmingly passed the state legislature in September.

“The ASPCA is frequently called upon to assist law enforcement and local agencies during disasters like the recent wildfire in Lake County, so we have seen firsthand how the ability to respond quickly and effectively during these devastating events is critical to saving lives and reuniting lost pets with their families,” said Kevin O’Neill, senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Western region. “We thank Assembly Member Maienschein for his support on this legislation and we will continue working to improve California’s emergency response capabilities.”

“We are looking forward to bringing this very important issue back next year,” said Christy Woods, Director of Government Relations of the American Red Cross. “There are always missing or injured animals during disasters as we saw in the Butte and Valley wildfires recently, so we want to ensure they are safe as well.”

The ASPCA and Red Cross are grateful that the Governor included in his veto message a directive to his agencies to work with the author to resolve their issues and bring the bill back next year. The groups look forward to working with the Governor and his agencies to clarify the language of this bill to ensure relief organizations are able to move swiftly to prevent the suffering of animals.

The ASPCA expressed thanks to Gov. Brown for signing another animal protection bill, AB 316, to assist local animal care agencies across the state who step up to care for animals seized during large-scale cruelty investigations. Animal cruelty investigations dealing with issues such as animal fighting, hoarding and puppy mills can result in large numbers of animals suddenly needing intensive veterinary care and sheltering. Since most animal care agencies in California operate at or near full capacity, these temporary shelters are critically important.

For more information about the ASPCA, or to join the 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 Instagram.

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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Having an emergency evacuation plan for your pets protects them during disasters

NEW YORK, N.Y.—In anticipation of Hurricane Joaquin, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) urges pet owners to develop emergency evacuation plans to keep their families and pets safe before the storm makes landfall along the East Coast.

“The best thing you can do for you and your pet is to plan ahead before the storm makes landfall,” said Dr. Dick Green, senior director of Disaster Response for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team. “Don’t wait until the last minute, act now and closely monitor the hurricane’s path. There are actions you can take, including arranging a safe haven for your pets and making sure your pets have up-to-date identification. And please take your pets with you if you need to evacuate.”

According to the ASPCA’s national study on disaster preparedness, more than one-third (35 percent) of dog and cat owners don’t have a disaster preparedness plan in place. Further, only about a quarter of dog owners (28 percent) and cat owners (24 percent) say their animals are micro-chipped. The ASPCA urges pet owners to develop emergency plans that accounts for the safety of their animals and to stay informed about potential evacuations in their area.

The following tips will help pet owners prepare for a disaster:

  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home during a crisis. Nearly one-in-five lost pets goes missing after being scared by the sound of fireworks, thunderstorms or other loud noises, according to ASPCA survey findings.
  • Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification. The ASPCA recommends microchipping your pet as a more permanent form of identification. 
  • Download ASPCA’s disaster preparedness mobile app. The ASPCA created a free mobile app that informs pet owners what to do before, during, and after a disaster, even without Internet connectivity. The app also gives personalized instructions on how to search for and recover a lost animal in a variety of circumstances. You can also store your pets’ medical records, microchip number, veterinarian contact info, and other information you may need easy access to after you evacuate. Visit www.ASPCAapp.org to download on iTunes or Google Play.
  • Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. Ask friends and relatives outside your immediate area if they would be willing to take in your pet, identify pet-friendly hotels, or contact your local animal shelter if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets.
  • Keep a pet emergency kit and supplies handy with items such as medical records, water, pet food and medications, and pet first aid supplies.
  • Obtain a rescue alert sticker, which will let rescuers know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible and that it includes: 1) the types and number of pets in your household; 2) the name of your veterinarian; and 3) your veterinarian's phone number.

The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team frequently responds to natural disasters, including recent wildfires in Lake County, Calif., Hurricanes Sandy and Irene in 2012, the Joplin, Mo. tornado in 2011, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, in addition to being called upon by state and municipal governments and other animal welfare partners to lend expertise during large-scale animal rescue operations.

For more information on disaster preparedness and safety tips from the ASPCA, please visit www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness/.

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.

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Dogs transported to temporary shelter to receive much-needed medical care

Huntersville, N.C.—At the request of the Huntersville Police Department, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is assisting with evidence collection and the removal of 23 pit bulls allegedly housed and fought at a property in Huntersville, N.C., approximately 12 miles north of downtown Charlotte. The Animal Care & Control Division of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is also working to support local authorities with the investigation.

A search warrant was executed Tuesday morning, where responders discovered dogs tethered on heavy chains and living in filthy conditions. Some were thin and exhibited scars, bite marks, broken teeth and other injuries commonly associated with dog fighting. Sixteen adult dogs and seven puppies were removed from the property, and dog fighting paraphernalia was discovered, including conditioning and training devices, indoor and outdoor fighting pits, and medication common to treating wounds associated with dog fighting. No arrests have yet been made.

The dogs are being transported to a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location, where they will be provided medical care and behavioral enrichment by ASPCA responders until custody is determined by the court. The ASPCA is working closely with local law enforcement and prosecutors to ensure the best legal outcome for these animals.

“Our hope is that our actions today will bring those persons responsible for this cruel and inhumane activity to justice,” said Chief Cleveland L. Spruill of the Huntersville Police Department. “We want to send a message that this type of cruel and illegal activity will not be tolerated in our community.”

“Dog fighting victims live terribly isolated lives and are subjected to horrific acts of cruelty,” said Kathryn Destreza, director of Investigations for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “Dog fighting is an underground activity that goes mostly unnoticed by the public, and we’re grateful to the Huntersville Police Department for actively pursuing this case to help end the suffering of these dogs.”

Agencies supporting the ASPCA by supplying resources, hands-on assistance or supplies include: the Animal Care & Control Division of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department; Asheville Humane Society; and Humane Alliance, a program of the ASPCA.

Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In North Carolina, dog fighting, the possession of dogs for fighting and being a spectator at a dog fight are all class H felonies, with a maximum penalty of up to 25 months in jail. 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. Earlier this year, more than 17,000 concerned citizens signed the ASPCA’s letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, asking for more vigorous pursuance of dog fighters. 

For more information on the ASPCA’s efforts to tackle dog fighting and what the public can do to help, please visit www.aspca.org/dogfighting.

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.

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(Sept. 21, 2015) – The Humane Society of the United States, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association filed a legal petition with the United States Department of Agriculture urging the agency to improve the standards of care for dogs kept in commercial breeding facilities. The USDA regulates such facilities under the federal Animal Welfare Act, but current AWA regulations fall far short of ensuring the humane treatment of dogs.

The requested changes would create more specific standards for veterinary care, housing, breeding practices, socialization and placement of retired breeding dogs. Among other things, the petition urges the USDA to adopt the following rules for licensed dog breeders:

  • Restrict the use of wire flooring in the dogs’ primary cage space. Wire flooring is routinely used in commercial breeding facilities, often in cages stacked on top of each other, and is highly detrimental to the dogs’ welfare;
  • Require breeders to provide dogs with access to an exercise space. Current regulations do not mandate even daily or weekly exercise, and many dogs are kept in their cages day in and day out, for years on end;
  • Require that dogs be physically examined by a veterinarian at least once per year, including a determination that breeding dogs are fit to endure pregnancy and nursing;
  • Restrict the frequency of breeding.  Currently there are no limits on how frequently dogs may be bred, and commercial breeders routinely breed female dogs at every heat, with no rest between litters, contrary to the recommendations of most breed clubs;
  • Require breeders to provide dogs with constant access to potable water;
  • Increase the minimum cage space requirements so that dogs have adequate space to move around freely and to stand on their hind legs without touching the top of the cage; and
  • Require breeders to make reasonable efforts to work with rescue groups to adopt out retired breeding dogs and “unsellable” puppies, rather than euthanizing or abandoning the dogs.

The HSUS, ASPCA and HSVMA issued the following statements:  

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS said: “It’s common sense that dogs should have water, space, exercise, and other basic care, and responsible dog breeders and pet industry groups should welcome these improved standards to deal with the outliers who cut corners and treat puppies like products. The current standards are insufficient and outdated, and need to be fortified to crack down on abusive puppy mills.”

Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA said: “Dogs are not products that can be simply warehoused without appropriate regard for their welfare. The public overwhelmingly agrees that the current USDA standards for dogs kept in commercial breeding facilities do not amount to humane treatment for dogs. The USDA needs to recognize this, and step up to ensure these vulnerable animals have proper care to maintain their health and well-being.”

Dr. Susan Krebsbach, veterinary advisor for HSVMA said: “This petition requests much needed enhancements to existing regulations concerning the treatment of dogs used and bred for commercial sale, including the physical conditions of the breeding facility and the health and welfare of the individual dogs. These new regulations would greatly improve the living space, physical health, and psychological well-being of literally tens of thousands of dogs in the United States.”

The petition was prepared pro bono by the international law firm Latham and Watkins and by attorneys in the Animal Protection Litigation department at The HSUS and by the ASPCA. 

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization, rated most effective by our peers. For 60 years, we have celebrated the protection of all animals and confronted all forms of cruelty. We are the nation’s largest provider of hands-on services for animals, caring for more than 100,000 animals each year, and we prevent cruelty to millions more through our advocacy campaigns. Read more about our 60 years of transformational change for animals, and visit us online at humanesociety.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 Instagram.

The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association was formed as a home for veterinary professionals who want to join together to speak out for animals, engage in direct care programs for animals in need, and educate the public and others in the profession about animal welfare issues. The HSVMA is an affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. www.hsvma.org

ASPCA Assists Lake County Animal Care & Control in Rescuing 
Displaced Animals from Devastating Wildfire in California

 
Professional responders conduct field rescues to save pets and livestock left behind,
assist local agency with sheltering effort

Lakeport, Calif.—Following a devastating wildfire in Lake County, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), at the request of the Lake County Animal Care & Control and its animal disaster response team Lake Evacuation & Animal Protection (LEAP), deployed professional responders to conduct field rescues to save badly burned animals, as well as check individual residences for pets and livestock left behind. The ASPCA will also be assisting the local agency shelter displaced animals in its 30-foot disaster response trailer customized to house animals in an event of an emergency.

The unforgiving Valley fire swept through and burned 67,000 acres, destroying nearly 600 homes and leaving approximately 13,000 people displaced in the community. Pet owners were ordered to evacuate immediately by local officials as the fire spread quickly throughout the area, which resulted in many pets and livestock being left behind. Reports indicate that local authorities are now escorting residents to their homes in certain areas, allowing them to retrieve or feed the animals.
  
“The Lake Evacuation & Animal Protection team has been receiving numerous requests from concerned pet owners who asked us to check on their pets and make sure they have enough food and water,” said Bill Davidson, director of Lake County Animal Care & Control. “It’s hard to say how many pets are affected at this point, but we will continue to go out into the field to search for lost or injured pets and hopefully reunite them with their families.”

“We’re pleased to be working alongside the Lake Evacuation & Animal Protection team to help pet owners and displaced animals in the community, as well as support local agencies identify resource needs,” added Dick Green, senior director of Disaster Response for the ASPCA, who has been on the ground since Sunday. “The destruction caused by the fire is indescribable, and our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by this disaster--people and pets alike.”
 
Animals rescued by the LEAP and the ASPCA are being examined and treated by veterinarians at the Lake County Animal Care & Control at 4949 Helbush Drive in Lakeport. Pet owners looking to report lost pets or rescue needs should contact the Lake County Animal Care & Control at (707) 263-0278.


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.

About Lake Evacuation & Animal Protection
LEAP is Lake County Animal Care & Control’s animal disaster response group. It is made up of the Animal Care & Control staff, as well as a group of highly trained volunteers.  All volunteers have completed the necessary applications, submitted copies of their driving records, completed the ICS training series 100, 200, and 700, as well as attend our annual training.  Most have even been through a two or three day animal disaster preparedness course offered by NVADG or a similar humane organization.

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