Archive for the ‘Humane Society of the US’ Category

Urge Your Reps to Vote NO on Farm Bill NOW!

Posted on June 20th, 2013

In a disappointing late-night move, the House leadership refused to allow debate on any animal welfare amendments when the Farm Bill goes to the full House. Bipartisan amendments on horse slaughter, horse soring, and protecting egg-laying hens were left out of consideration, while the dangerous, overreaching “King Amendment” remains in the Farm Bill.

The King Amendment seeks to repeal state laws regarding agriculture production and could nullify measures on farm animal confinement, horse slaughter, puppy mills, shark finning, and a wide range of other concerns including food safety, child labor and the environment.

This provision is so potentially harmful, and with no amendment or debate allowed to consider the King provision on the House floor, we must now stop the entire Farm Bill in its tracks.

It is critical for every member of the House to hear from concerned advocates like us ASAP – like, today.Animal Welfare

To block the King Amendment, please call your representative and urge them to vote “no” on the Farm Bill.

TAKE ACTION

Please make a brief, polite phone call to your U.S. Representative (http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/) urging opposition to the Farm Bill, which in its current form would include the King Amendment that could nullify many state laws that protect animals.

Here is what you say:

“As a constituent concerned about preventing cruelty to animals, I’m calling to urge you to please vote ‘no’ on the Farm Bill because I want animals to have protection from cruelty.”

 

 

Trouble for Booming Pet Sector…?

Posted on December 22nd, 2012

The $53 billion Americans are spending on pets and pet businesses will skyrocket in 2013. But experts warn the boom is empowering ruthless puppy mills. Take steps to protect yourself and the animals.

$350 million spent on pet costumes in October? We did, according to the National Retail Federation.

Despite the lingering economic crisis casting a shadow over the holidays, pet spending is exploding. From $37.3 billion in 2001 to nearly $53 billion in 2012, a 42 percent increase in 11 years according to a 2012 APPA study. But experts warn the trend is causing unprepared pet buyers to get in over their heads, which is creating opportunities for shady operations.

You’re not seeing double. Wugadogs are the toy versions of a real-life Boston Terrier named Angus. They’re part of a nationwide ‘Petrepreneuer’ trend in pet commerce.

And despite the gloomy outlook for jobs and overall finances, pet spending is rocketing into 2013 and showing no signs of slowing down.

So why the shopping spree? “People are more interested in pets than ever before,” says San Diego veterinarian Dr. Jessica Vogelsang. Her statement reflects the long-held belief that pets improve human health. How? A neat little chemical called oxytocin, says Kit Yarrow, who chairs the psychology department of Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

Oxytocin is a naturally-occurring hormone in our bodies that makes us feel good and evaporates stress. We get a charge whenever we think about, play with, or snuggle up to our pets, says Yarrow. And in these unstable times, a feeling like that is more than welcome to stay awhile.

Pet businesses skyrocket in 2012

The trend is titilating consumers partly because of new pet-focused businesses and services. Buffalo, NY-based ex-graphic artist turned toy designer, Darrin Wilson, 44, agrees. “I think we will see more of a focus on pets in 2013,” he says. “Especially if the economy remains tepid. Pets give us a safe place to hide.”

Wilson created a successful plush toy modeled after his own rambunctious Boston terrier. Interest in his toys, Wugadogs, began in July when he and his wife gave over 300 of the fuzzy critters to the Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. He has now grown the line to include five more Wugadog designs in 2013.

In Danvers, MA, Rev. Thea Keith-Lucas takes pet devotion into the pews. The Perfect Paws Pet Ministry, which marked its second anniversary in April 2012, usually sets aside dog cupcakes and chewies for pooches who accompany their owners for Sunday service. In the Parish hall, you’ll see folding chairs. “It’s easier to clean,” explains the minister.

‘Petrepreneurialism’ is not just limited to creative pet owners and clergy; the trend has taken over big name companies. Paul Mitchell, Harley Davidson and Old Navy are now offering lines of pet products ranging from dog shampoo, pet attire, and name-brand toys to gourmet treats and food.

With all this attention on pets, and the surge of pet-focused spending, the lure of a cute kitten or puppy to a first-time buyer can be too tempting to resist, especially if there are children involved. And that’s where all the cuteness can get ugly.

Puppy mills thrive on uninformed buyers

Many first-timers don’t know that the kennel or pet store they’re buying from is being honest. “Federal care standards are so minimal and enforcement so irregular that licensed kennels still include many so-called puppy mills, which breed and house animals in inhumane conditions,” says Cori Menkin, senior director of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals puppy mills campaign. “Most pet store puppies come from puppy mills,” she says.

According to one well-known animal rights organization, the premium cost consumers pay for pets out of a pet store pales in comparison to the cruelty and abuse the animals suffer in the bowels of a puppy mill.

Puppy mills, according to PETA, can consist of anything from small cages made of wood and wire mesh to tractor-trailer cabs to simple tethers attached to trees. In the April 13, 2009 issue of Newsweek magazine, a Pennsylvania breeder confessed that he kept his dogs in cages because it was “the only way to keep a lot of dogs—to keep them penned up.”

In 2010, Chris Sweeney of DVM Newsmagazine reported in a feature entitled, “Inside the Black Market: Puppy Smuggling,” confirmed that dealers looking to avoid releveant U.S. laws concerning puppy mills can do so relatively easily by simply picking up and moving elsewhere to continue to do business.

While investigating what he called this “multi-million dollar industry,” Capt. Aaron Reyes of the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority was horrified when he found “puppies stuffed in speaker boxes, screwed into the car door panels and wrapped in blankets with their little legs taped to their bodies and stuffed under seats.”

According to The Humane Society of the United States, there may be as many as 10,000 puppy mills operating across the United States.

To avoid empowering these malicious operations, one of the most important steps to take is diligence. Instead of a pet store, consumers may want to look at either a reputable local breeder or an adoption group, says Melanie Kahn, senior director of the Humane Society’s puppy mills campaign. If we can stop the flow of money to these individuals we can help end these practices.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have pet buyers who discover their newly-purchased pet isn’t for them. “Live animals aren’t often returnable, and so they may end up at shelters when the family discovers, say, that their new puppy is too energetic or that baby Easter bunny grows into a rabbit,” says Kahn.

Adopt a dog from a reputable adoption group to avoid puppy mill dogs. Also by carefully researching the breeders that supply pet stores.

Patti Strand, national director of the National Animal Interest Alliance, offers these tips:

  1. Ask the pet store for detailed information on the breeder and their location.
  2. Check those records against its inspections at the USDA’s website.

With homework you can protect yourself and deny puppy mill operators the cash they need.

But despite the dark side of this skyrocketing interest in pets, there is a light side: many abandoned animals will go to good homes thanks to committed pet owners. “Animals have always been a big part of our lives as humans,” says Wilson. “They have often been the only medicine that can truly cleanse our souls. It’s only right we adore them as much as they adore us.”

(Thanks to wugadogs.com for this story.)

Ohio House Passes Critical Puppy Mill Bill: SB130

Posted on November 15th, 2012

ASPCA encouraged by passage of SB 130,
Requires commercial dog breeding facilities to be licensed, inspected

The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) yesterday applauded the Ohio House of Representatives for passing Senate Bill 130 by a vote of 89-5. This bill is crucial and something that I have talked about multiple times before on the blog, requiring commercial dog breeding facilities to be licensed and inspected for the first time in the state’s history.

The ASPCA had worked to strengthen the bill, recommending that critical provisions which had previously been removed from the bill, be reinstated.

“The Ohio General Assembly has been considering various puppy mill bills for over six years,” said Vicki Deisner, state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Midwest region. “Ohio has taken a critical step today by regulating commercial breeders, which will improve the living conditions of breeding dogs destined to spend their whole lives in these barren, commercial breeding facilities.”

Sponsored by Senator Jim Hughes (R-Columbus), SB 130 unanimously passed in the Ohio Senate last February. While the Senate version of the bill contained many strong provisions, the current version has been stripped of several of the vital requirements that would most improve the lives of Ohio’s puppy mill dogs.

The ASPCA had recommended to the Ohio House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee that every breeding dog receive a hands-on veterinary exam once a year, and that facility inspections be performed by state-level inspectors only.

“In order to ensure that all breeding dogs are healthy and safe, each dog should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year,” said Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign.

“In its current form, SB 130 does not require this, but the legislation is still a step in the right direction. We look forward to eventually working with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to ensure more humane standards of care are instituted.”

Ohio has become a haven for puppy mill operators, which is why in addition to its legislative work, the ASPCA has focused part of its national “No Pet Store Puppies” campaign on the Columbus area.

The campaign aims to reduce the demand for puppy mill puppies by urging consumers to pledge not to buy any items—including food, supplies or toys—from stores or websites that sell puppies.

Last year, a poll conducted by Lake Research Partners revealed that while 86 percent of Columbus-area residents would not purchase puppies if they knew they came from puppy mills, 74 percent of Columbus area residents are unaware that most puppies sold in pet stores come from them.

The ASPCA believes that convincing consumers not to shop for anything, including puppies, at pet stores that sell puppies is a necessary part of stopping the demand for puppy mill dogs.

To learn more about the ASPCA’s efforts to eradicate puppy mills, please visit www.NoPetStorePuppies.com.

The ASPCA is not the only group concerned with what is going on here in Ohio, my home state (I live on the lake in Cleveland, about two hours north of Columbus.)

Several other groups have slaved for years on petitions, awareness, etc doing very honorable work to ensure Ohio citizens are aware. And though their work may not specifically be about SB 130, we Ohio animal welfare groups support one another, helping each other to spread each other’s work, “liking” things on Facebook, and writing, Tweeting, and Pinning where ever asked.

The Humane Society of the United States was also applauding Ohio yesterday; they were involved in the passage of this SB130 as well – their heavy lobbying efforts undoubtedly had an effect. They noted in a press release yesterday that Ohio is one of 22 states with no regulation or oversight of commercial high volume breeding kennels.

“S.B. 130 is the product of careful consideration, intense labor and a spirit of cooperation,” said State Rep. Dave Hall, Chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. “Thanks to Senator Hughes, we had a good base. I’m pleased to say that the House Agriculture Committee was able to work with both sides of this issue to clarify and strengthen certain aspects that were critical for its passage. We were able to find that elusive ‘middle ground.’ As someone whose family has taken care of several rescue pets, I can say with confidence that this bill’s passage is a major victory for all Ohio dog lovers.”

Other local groups involved include Columbus Top Dogs, which works on many fundraisers and local issues, the Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions, which works tirelessly on banning the awful auctions which purport the puppy mill problem, and the Nitro Foundation, which is currently working assiduously to amend legislation and make a first-time offense of animal cruelty a felony in Ohio. Currently, Ohio is one of only 4 states where a first count of animal cruelty is a misdemeanor. Offenders rarely get more than a measly slap on the wrist, fine and warning for doing things like beating, burning and killing dogs and cats.

If I missed your organization, please share in the comments. But A HUGE CONGRATS goes out from ThoughtsFurPaws to ALL involved in the passing of SB130 in both the Senate and the House finally. A rousing “thank you” also goes out to my legislators – now please listen to us animal welfare advocates on the other issues we’ve been writing and calling about, ie HB 108!

We have been waiting for years as you will see from the old blog posts (search Puppy Mills, or Animal Welfare Ohio SB 130).

I will soon be writing another post on this because many small time breeders and rescues feel this bill is a burden.

Stay tuned to read their perspective…

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.

350,000 Voices for Puppy Mill Dogs….

Posted on August 15th, 2012

Comments Delivered to USDA in Support of Regulating Internet Puppy Mills

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Best Friends Animal Society, The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Legislative Fund, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, and a member of the social change platform Change.org together have gathered approximately 350,000 letters and signatures from concerned citizens, the last of which were hand-delivered today to the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in support of the agency’s efforts to regulate unlicensed puppy mills.

The USDA has proposed a rule that will require large-scale commercial breeders that sell pets over the Internet or by mail or phone, sight-unseen, to be licensed and inspected under the federal Animal Welfare Act. The public comment period closes today. Now the USDA will read and consider all comments before deciding final action on the proposed rule.

Many of you may have seen the petition floating around on Change.org last week and even more have commented on places like Twitter and Facebook about it.

The following statements were issued:

“The enormous public response to the USDA’s proposed rule illustrates just how strongly Americans support greater oversight of unlicensed puppy mills,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “The ASPCA has witnessed the abhorrent cruelty that often exists behind the pictures of happy puppies posted on a breeder’s website, and this rule would crack down on the worst of Internet breeders. We encourage the USDA to adopt a final rule that is enforceable, effective and covers as many commercial breeders as possible.”

“Unethical breeders have been using the Internet as a way to avoid regulation,” said Gregory Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society.  “That the USDA is taking the initiative to close this loophole, plus the nearly 350,000 letters and signatures collected by national animal advocacy and animal protection groups to support the proposed rule change, reflect a profound societal change — the growing will of the American public to protect puppies and other animals from unscrupulous breeders.”

“I have three rescued dogs from puppy mills and am an active member of the rescue community,” said Washington, D.C. resident Anne Gregory, who gathered more than 143,000 signatures on her petition on Change.org. “I’m so optimistic that this USDA loophole will be closed and dogs will be protected thanks to the caring individuals who signed my petition.”

“We asked the public to speak up for dogs in unlicensed puppy mills — and hundreds of thousands responded. This level of support shows the intensity of concern about the humane treatment of animals,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “We thank the Obama administration and USDA for proposing this change and encourage them to make it final in short order.” The HSUS gathered more than 111,000 letters in support of the rule.

“If enacted, this proposed rule will essentially achieve the same reform as pending congressional legislation which has more than 235 bipartisan cosponsors in the House and Senate,”  said Michael Markarian, president of HSLF. “This overwhelming bipartisan support demonstrates that Americans of all political stripes want dogs protected from abuse and it’s time to crack down on unlicensed puppy mill dealers.”

“Veterinary professionals know firsthand the suffering of puppies born in unlicensed puppy mills and the anguish of families who bring home a sick or dying puppy,” said Dr. Susan Krebsbach of HSVMA. “This change is long overdue, and on behalf of our 4,500 veterinary professional members nationwide, we encourage the agency to finalize it quickly.”

How do you feel about the proposed change? How do you feel about USDA’s current enforcement (or lack thereof) on puppy mills or large breeding facilities? Share with me in the comments.

Animal Welfare Org.s Praise OH Governor Kasich for Signing Dangerous Wild Animal Act into Law

Posted on June 9th, 2012

Ohio now joins majority of states in restricting private ownership of dangerous exotic wildlife

The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA® and Born Free USA issued statements in response to Ohio Gov. John Kasich enacting the Dangerous Wild Animal Act into law this past week.

Introduced by state Sen. Troy Balderson, R-Zanesville, the bill was passed by the Ohio House of Representatives by a vote of 87 to 9 on May 22, and the Ohio Senate by a 30 to 1 vote in April.

Wild Tiger Courtesy Born Free USA

With Gov. Kasich’s signature, there remain only six states with little to no restrictions on the private possession of dangerous wild animals—Alabama, Nevada, North Carolina, West Virginia, South Carolina and Wisconsin.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS stated, “Common sense, rather than tragedy, should drive public policy decisions, but sometimes it takes a high-profile event to focus the attention of lawmakers on issues not in the headlines.”

“For all the states that have not adopted sensible policies on private ownership of dangerous exotics, the grim drama that played out in Zanesville should provide all of the evidence

Courtesy HSUS (cropped)

they need to get cracking and adopt strict and sensible policies. We are grateful to Governor Kasich and the legislature for standing firm on this issue, and working to protect animal welfare and public safety,” Pacelle continued.

“The ASPCA commends Gov. Kasich for recognizing the need to regulate dangerous exotic animals and ensuring the safety of Ohio residents, as well as the health and well-being of wild animals kept as pets,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations.

“Safety should always be the paramount concern of lawmakers, and having dangerous exotic animals in our communities, without any regulation or restrictions, threatens us all and the animals pay the ultimate price.”

Adam Roberts, executive vice president of Born Free USA added, “Today marks a strong—and long overdue—step forward in protecting exotics and Ohioans from the dangerous and inhumane ‘pet’ wildlife trade. Born Free USA knows the cruel effects of the trade firsthand. Many of our Primate Sanctuary residents were rescued from abusive situations in which they were forced into captivity as someone’s pet.”

“There is an epidemic in this country of owning wild animals as ‘pets’ and it must stop. As documented by Born Free USA’s Exotic Animal Incidents Database, numerous incidents involving death and injuries to humans from captive ‘pets’ occur regularly and nationwide. We commend Governor Kasich for signing this urgently needed public safety and animal welfare measure into law, and we urge other states to follow suit.”

The new law will:

•    Ban new ownership of dangerous wild animals, including big cats, some smaller exotic cats, bears, hyenas, gray wolves, non-human primate species, alligators and crocodiles in Ohio;

•    Grandfather existing animals so people who currently have them can keep them, as long as they obtain a permit;

•    Require owners of exotic animals covered under the grandfather clause to acquire liability insurance or surety bonds ranging from $200,000 to $1 million;

•    Require existing owners of exotic animals to comply with housing and safety standards that will be established by the Ohio Department of Agriculture; and

•    Require criminal background checks to qualify for a permit for owners of existing exotic animals.

The exotic pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry that contributes to the suffering of millions of animals, often threatening public health and safety, disrupting ecosystems and driving species to endangerment and extinction.

Each year across the nation, countless numbers of exotic animals are purchased as pets at retail stores and from private breeders and dealers at auctions or over the Internet. Since the vast majority of people who keep exotic animals cannot meet their needs, the animals often become the victims of abuse and neglect—they are caged, chained, tranquilized or even beaten into submission.