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This Day In History: 04/10/1866 - ASPCA is founded

This Day In History: 04/10/1866 - ASPCA is founded


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The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or the ASPCA was founded by Henry Bergh on April 10th. Many other historical events occurred on April 10th that Russ Mitchell recaps for us in this video clip from This Day In History. This society put pressure on the legislature to pass laws against animal cruelty, that the ASPCA would enforce. Also on April 10, the Catholics and Protestants of Northern Ireland came to a settlement, which brought peace to the area, and F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Great Gatsby was published. The first US Patent Office was also established on April 10th.


Following the creation of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in the United Kingdom in 1824 (given Royal status in 1840), Henry Bergh founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on April 10, 1866, in New York City [4] on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans, and must be protected under the law. It is the oldest animal welfare organization in the United States. On February 8, 1866, Bergh pleaded on behalf of animals at a meeting at Clinton Hall in New York City. Some of the issues he discussed were cockfighting and the horrors of slaughterhouses. [5] After getting signatures for his "Declaration of the Rights of Animals," Bergh was given an official charter to incorporate ASPCA on April 10, 1866. [6] On April 19, 1866, the first anti-cruelty law was passed In NY since the founding of ASPCA, and the organization was granted the right to enforce anti-cruelty laws. In 1867, ASPCA operated its first ambulance for injured horses and began advocating for more humane treatment of animals such as horses, live pigeons, cats and dogs. Early goals of ASPCA focused on efforts for horses and livestock, since at the time they were used for a number of activities. [7]

In 1918, ASPCA veterinarians developed the use of anesthesia and as a result were able to work on a horse with a broken kneecap. In 1954, ASPCA hospitals added pathology and radiography laboratories and programs. In 1961, ASPCA veterinarians performed their first open-heart surgery on a dog. [8]

From 1894 to 1994, the ASPCA operated the municipal animal shelter system in New York City which euthanized unadopted animals. Starting in 1977, the ASPCA entered into a contract with New York City Department of Health to receive municipal funding to operate the shelter system. The contract rendered the ASPCA increasingly reliant on government income rather than private donations, and subject to the effects of annual city budget appropriations. In 1993, the ASPCA decided not to renew its contract for operating the municipal animal shelter system in New York City, which they had been operating since 1894. [9] [10] Operation of the shelter system was transferred to Center for Animal Care and Control, later renamed Animal Care Centers of NYC, in 1995. [11]

In 1996, the ASPCA acquired the Animal Poison Control Center from the University of Illinois. [12] In 2013, the ASPCA made a $25 million commitment to assist at-risk animals and pet owners in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, including a fully subsidized spay/neuter facility in South Los Angeles operated by the ASPCA and a campaign to encourage the fostering of local vulnerable kittens. [13]

In 2014, the ASPCA spoke out in support of new New York City mayor Bill de Blasio's campaign to ban horse-drawn carriages in the city. [14]

In 2014, the ASPCA opened the Gloria Gurney Canine Annex for Recovery & Enrichment (CARE) in NYC to house dogs brought by the NYPD to the ASPCA in connection with animal cruelty investigations. [15] In 2014, the ASPCA also opened the ASPCA Kitten Nursery in NYC to care for neonate and very young homeless kittens until they are appropriate for adoption. [16]

In 2015, the ASPCA acquired the Asheville, NC-based Humane Alliance, now called the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance. [17]

In 2018, the ASPCA established the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center. Located in Weaverville, North Carolina, the Center provides behavioral rehabilitation to canine victims of cruelty and neglect. The Center’s Learning Lab also disseminates rehabilitative aid and training to shelters around the country. [18] [19] [20]

In 2019, the ASPCA opened the ASPCA Community Veterinary Center in Liberty City, Miami, FL to provide subsidized veterinary services for an undeserved community. [21] Also in 2019, the ASPCA also took over responsibility for The Right Horse Initiative as an official program of the ASPCA. [22]

In 2020, the ASPCA opened the ASPCA Community Veterinary Center in the Bronx, New York. [23]

In 2020, the ASPCA launched a series of programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on pets, owners, and communities including free pet food for dogs, cats, and horses in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Asheville, grants to animal welfare organizations, emergency pet boarding services, a New York City COVID-19 Pet Hotline, and expanded stationary and mobile veterinary care. [24] [25]

In 2021, the ASPCA opened the ASPCA Community Veterinary Center supported by the Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust, in NYC. [26]

In 2012, the ASPCA agreed to pay Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus $9.3 million to settle a lawsuit regarding the ASPCA's false allegations of animal cruelty by the circus. Courts found that ASPCA activists had paid the key witness, a former Ringling barn helper, at least $190,000, making him "essentially a paid plaintiff" who lacked credibility. [27] Edwin J. Sayres stepped down as CEO in 2012, and in 2013 longtime ASPCA staff member Matthew Bershadker was named president and CEO. [28]

The ASPCA’s Government Relations and Legal Advocacy and Investigations departments work with state and federal lawmakers and engage in legislative and litigation efforts to secure stronger legal protections for animals. [29]

Some of the animal welfare issues the departments work on include ending puppy mills and breed-specific legislation. [30] [31] [32]

In 2019, the ASPCA sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture for access to animal breeder inspection records. [33]

At the invitation of local agencies, the ASPCA deploys to sites of large-scale animal abuse, animal neglect, natural disasters, or man-made disasters in which animals are at risk. Teams including National Field Response, Legal Advocacy and Investigations, Forensic Sciences, the Cruelty Recovery Center, Relocation and the Behavioral Sciences team, engage in animal rescue efforts. They provide behavioral and medical treatment for the animals and support the prosecution of criminal cases with forensic science, evidence collection and analysis, legal and expert testimony support. [34]

Cases involving torture, killings and mistreatment of animals are some examples of cases handled by the ASPCA. A common example was displayed in the news in October 2008, when the ASPCA was in charge of an investigation involving the slaughtering of a beagle that lived in the Bronx. Brian McCafferty was charged with torturing and injuring his wife's beagle, Jerry, after an argument with his wife. The ASPCA conducted a necropsy that concluded that Jerry was stabbed twice and shot in the neck with a rifle. McCafferty claims that he was acting in self-defense when the dog attacked him. He was eventually released on bail. [35]

In 2016, ASPCA field deployment teams participated in a large animal cruelty rescue operation, rescuing nearly 700 animals from an unlicensed facility in North Carolina. [36]

Other large-scale ASPCA rescues included providing emergency sheltering and assistance for approximately 1,300 animals displaced during the Joplin tornado in 2011, and assisting with the care of 367 dogs in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia in 2013 in what is believed to be the second-largest dogfighting raid in U.S. history. [37] [38]

In September 2013, after many years of providing humane law enforcement services in NYC, the ASPCA and the New York City Police Department announced a collaboration to provide enhanced protection to New York City’s animals. [39] In this partnership, the NYPD responds to all animal cruelty complaints throughout New York City, while the ASPCA provides medical and behavioral care for animal cruelty victims and provides legal and forensic assistance in the prosecution of cases. [40] [41] The ASPCA Community Engagement team also works closely with NYPD to connect pets in need to services such as medical care, grooming and pet supplies. [42] [43]

In 2020, the ASPCA also opened the ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Science Center in Gainesville, Florida, to assist law enforcement with animal cruelty investigations and prosecutions. [44]

The ASPCA’s Farm Animal Welfare Program features a “Shop With Your Heart” campaign that guides consumers on making animal welfare-conscious food buying decisions including seeking out meat, egg, and dairy products certified by a one of three credible animal welfare certifications, including Global Animal Partnership (GAP), and exploring more plant-based food options. [45] [46]

The ASPCA’s Right Horse Initiative is focused on increasing the number of successful horse adoptions in the U.S. and improving the number of positive outcomes for horses in transition as they move from one home, career, or owner to the next. [47]

The ASPCA Animal Relocation Program transports animals from source shelters in locations with high homeless pet overpopulation to destination shelters, where there is a higher demand for adoptable animals. [48] [49]


Contents

The shelter industry has terminology for their unique field of work, and though there are no exact standards for consistent definitions, many words have meanings based on their usage. [4]

Animal control has the municipal function of picking up stray dogs and cats, and investigating reports of animal abuse, dog bites or animal attacks. It may also be called animal care and control, and earlier was called the dog catcher or rabies control. Stray, lost or abandoned pets picked up off the streets are usually transported to the local animal shelter, or pound. Uncomplicated stray cases are usually kept for a period of time, called stray hold. After the holding period, an animal is considered forfeited by its owner, and may become available for adoption. Animals involved in attacks or bites are placed in quarantine and are not available for adoption until investigations or legal cases are resolved. Animal control's interest is mainly public safety and rabies control. [4] [5]

Many shelter policies allow individuals to bring in animals to the shelter, often called owner surrender, or relinquishing an animal. An open admission shelter will accept any animal regardless of reason, and is usually a municipal-run shelter or a private shelter with a contract to operate for a municipality. Municipal shelters may limit incoming animals to those from the area in which they serve. A managed admission shelter requires an appointment and will restrict admission of animals to fit their available resources. Limited admission shelters are usually private or non-profit shelters without municipal contracts, and they may limit their intake to only highly-adoptable and healthy animals. [4] [5]

An animal in a shelter has four outcomes: return to owner, adoption, transfer to another shelter or rescue facility, or euthanasia. [5] Return to owner is when a stray animal, that was found and housed at the shelter, is picked up by its owner. Most animal shelters practice adoption, where an animal in their care is given or sold to an individual who will keep it and care for it. Some shelters work with rescue organizations, giving an animal to the rescue rather than adopting it to an individual. Some jurisdictions mandate that shelters cooperate with rescues some shelters utilize rescues to offload animals with health or behavior problems that they are not equipped to deal with. Many shelters practice some level of euthanasia. [4] [5]

Euthanasia is the act of putting an animal to death. A high kill shelter euthanizes many of the animals they take in a low kill shelter euthanizes few animals and usually operates programs to increase the number of animals that are released alive. A shelter's live release rate is the measure of how many animals leave a shelter alive compared to the number of animals they have taken in. A no kill shelter practices a very strict high live release rate, such as 90%, 95%, or even 100%. Since there is no standard of measurement, some shelters compare live releases to the number of healthy, adoptable animals, while others compare live releases to every animal they took in – as such, the terms high kill, low kill, and no kill are therefore subjective. [4] [5]

Shelter partners include rescue groups, fosters and sanctuaries. Rescue groups will often pull dogs from shelters, helping to reduce the number of animals at a shelter. A rescue group often specializes in a specific dog breed, or they pull hard-to-adopt animals such as those with health or behavioral issues with the intention of rehabilitating the animal for a future adoption. Many rescues don't have brick and mortar locations but operate out of a home or with foster partners. A foster will temporarily take animals from the shelter to their home to give them special attention or care, such as a newly whelped litter of puppies, or an animal recovering from an illness. An animal sanctuary is an alternative to euthanasia for difficult-to-adopt animals it is a permanent placement which may include secure kenneling and care by staff experienced in the handling of animals with serious aggression or permanent behavioral problems, or a home for aged animals that will be cared for until their natural death. Adoption and sending to rescue or sanctuary are permanent placements fostering is a temporary placement. [4] [5]

A retail rescue takes advantage of right-of-first-choice of the free or cheap inventory of animals from shelters to flip shelter-pulled animals under the banner of 'adoption', with little or no retraining or veterinary care in between pulling a dog and selling it. They may also obtain animals cheaply from auctions or puppy mills and command high dollar for their adoptions under the ruse of having 'rescued' the animal. A retail shelter operates like an ordinary animal shelter but with more of the flavor of a pet store than a traditional shelter by selling pet supplies. They may even obtain animals from out of the area to increase their inventory of animals, rather than serving only their geographic service area. [5]

Many shelters routinely spay or neuter all their adoptable animals and vaccinate them for rabies and other routine pet diseases. Shelters often offer rabies clinics or spay-neuter clinics to their local public at discount rates. Some shelters participate in trap–neuter–return programs where stray animals are captured, neutered and vaccinated, then returned to the location they were picked up. [4] [5]

Canada Edit

In Quebec, there are two types of animal shelters: [ citation needed ]

    (in French, 'Société pour la prévention de la cruauté envers les animaux')
  • SPA (in French, 'Société protectrice des animaux')

Germany Edit

Larger cities in Germany have a city shelter (Tierheim) for animals or contract with one of the many non-profit animal organisations in the country, which run their own shelters. Most shelters are populated by dogs, cats and a variety of small animals like mice, rats and rabbits. Additionally, there are so-called Gnadenhöfe ("mercy-farms") for larger animals that take cattle or horses from private owners who want to put them down for financial reasons.

The Animal Protection Act prohibits killing of vertebrates without a proper reason. Generally, proper reasons are slaughtering or hunting for food production (cats and dogs are excepted from that), control of infectious diseases, painless killing "if continued life would imply uncurable pain or suffering" or if an animal poses a danger to the general public. [6] The latter will be a reason for euthanasia only if an authority concerned with public safety orders it based on an investigation. Because of the ruling, all German animal shelters are practically no-kill shelters. Facilities must be led by a person who is certified in the handling of animals. Most shelters contract veterinarians to provide medical care.

India Edit

Goshalas are a type of shelter for homeless, unwanted or elderly cattle in India. Cows are venerated by the Hindu population and slaughter of cattle is illegal in most places in the country. [7]

New Zealand Edit

In New Zealand, dog pounds are run by each territorial local authority, which provide animal control services under the Dog Control Act 1996. [8]

United Kingdom Edit

In the United Kingdom, animal shelters are more commonly known as rescue or rehoming centres and are run by charitable organizations. The most prominent rescue and rehoming organisations are the RSPCA, Cats Protection and the Dogs Trust. [ citation needed ]

United States Edit

In the United States there is no government-run organization that provides oversight or regulation of the various shelters on a national basis. However, many individual states regulate shelters within their jurisdiction. One of the earliest comprehensive measures was the Georgia Animal Protection Act of 1986, a law enacted in response to the inhumane treatment of companion animals by a pet store chain in Atlanta. [9] It provided for the licensing and regulation of pet shops, stables, kennels, and animal shelters, and it established, for the first time, minimum standards of care. The Georgia Department of Agriculture was tasked with licensing animal shelters and enforcing the new law through the Department's newly created Animal Protection Division. An additional provision, added in 1990, was the Humane Euthanasia Act, the first state law to mandate intravenous injection of sodium pentothal in place of gas chambers and other less humane methods. [10] [11] The law was further expanded and strengthened with the Animal Protection Act of 2000. [12]

Currently, it is estimated that there are approximately 5,000 independently-run animal shelters operating nationwide. [13] Shelters have redefined their role since the 1990s. No longer serving as a lifelong repository for strays and drop-offs, modern shelters have taken the lead in controlling the pet population, promoting pet adoption and studying shelter animals' health and behavior. To prevent animal euthanization, some shelters offer behavioral assessments of animals and training classes to make them more adoptable to the public. Most shelters also provide medical care that includes spaying and neutering to prevent overpopulation.

Shelters and shelter-like volunteer organizations responded to cat overpopulation with trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs, which reduced feral cat populations and reduced the burden on shelters.

In the United States, many government-run animal shelters operate in conditions that are far from ideal. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2007–2008, many government shelters ran out of adequate space and financial resources. [14] Shelters unable to raise additional funds to provide for the increased number of incoming animals have no choice but to euthanize them, sometimes within days. [15] In 2012, approximately four million cats and dogs died in U.S. shelters. [16] However, in recent years, there has been a dramatic drop in the number of animals euthanized in shelters, due mainly to a successful push to promote spaying and neutering of pets. [17]

Places Like the ASPCA rely on volunteer work to ensure that every animal gets a chance of survival. The ASPC staff makes sure to train their new volunteers to better take care of the animal's needs as well as the visitor's experience. The tasks include assembling and giving out the food to the animals, cleaning cats and dogs cages, monitoring the animal's welfare, and helping out with additional support. [18] The ASPCA also relies on donations to continue providing care to the animals in need, they even help individuals plan fundraisers as an alternative way to donate. 100% of the donations sent to the ASPCA go directly to them by doing so animals not only get a chance at survival but you also help raise awareness of the APSCA mission which is to ensure that these animals are safe. [19] To further protect these animals the ASPCA encourages people to not only adopt from their shelter but from local shelters as well. To help out potential adopters, they provide them with shelter locations, adoptable pets, and a picture with a short description of a prospective pet. [20]


Following the creation of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in the United Kingdom in 1824 (given Royal status in 1840), Henry Bergh founded the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals on April 10, 1866, in New York City [4] on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans, and must be protected under the law. It is the oldest animal welfare organization in the United States. On February 8, 1866, Bergh pleaded on behalf of animals at a meeting at Clinton Hall in New York City. Some of the issues he discussed were cockfighting and the horrors of slaughterhouses. [5] After getting signatures for his "Declaration of the Rights of Animals," Bergh was given an official charter to incorporate ASPCA on April 10, 1866. [6] On April 19, 1866, the first anti-cruelty law was passed In NY since the founding of ASPCA, and the organization was granted the right to enforce anti-cruelty laws. In 1867, ASPCA operated its first ambulance for injured horses and began advocating for more humane treatment of animals such as horses, live pigeons, cats and dogs. Early goals of ASPCA focused on efforts for horses and livestock, since at the time they were used for a number of activities. [7]

In 1918, ASPCA veterinarians developed the use of anesthesia and as a result were able to work on a horse with a broken kneecap. In 1954, ASPCA hospitals added pathology and radiography laboratories and programs. In 1961, ASPCA veterinarians performed their first open-heart surgery on a dog. [8]

From 1894 to 1994, the ASPCA operated the municipal animal shelter system in New York City which euthanized unadopted animals. Starting in 1977, the ASPCA entered into a contract with New York City Department of Health to receive municipal funding to operate the shelter system. The contract rendered the ASPCA increasingly reliant on government income rather than private donations, and subject to the effects of annual city budget appropriations. In 1993, the ASPCA decided not to renew its contract for operating the municipal animal shelter system in New York City, which they had been operating since 1894. [9] [10] Operation of the shelter system was transferred to Center for Animal Care and Control, later renamed Animal Care Centers of NYC, in 1995. [11]

In 1996, the ASPCA acquired the Animal Poison Control Center from the University of Illinois. [12] In 2013, the ASPCA made a $25 million commitment to assist at-risk animals and pet owners in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area, including a fully subsidized spay/neuter facility in South Los Angeles operated by the ASPCA and a campaign to encourage the fostering of local vulnerable kittens. [13]

In 2014, the ASPCA spoke out in support of new New York City mayor Bill de Blasio's campaign to ban horse-drawn carriages in the city. [14]

In 2014, the ASPCA opened the Gloria Gurney Canine Annex for Recovery & Enrichment (CARE) in NYC to house dogs brought by the NYPD to the ASPCA in connection with animal cruelty investigations. [15] In 2014, the ASPCA also opened the ASPCA Kitten Nursery in NYC to care for neonate and very young homeless kittens until they are appropriate for adoption. [16]

In 2015, the ASPCA acquired the Asheville, NC-based Humane Alliance, now called the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Alliance. [17]

In 2018, the ASPCA established the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center. Located in Weaverville, North Carolina, the Center provides behavioral rehabilitation to canine victims of cruelty and neglect. The Center’s Learning Lab also disseminates rehabilitative aid and training to shelters around the country. [18] [19] [20]

In 2019, the ASPCA opened the ASPCA Community Veterinary Center in Liberty City, Miami, FL to provide subsidized veterinary services for an undeserved community. [21] Also in 2019, the ASPCA also took over responsibility for The Right Horse Initiative as an official program of the ASPCA. [22]

In 2020, the ASPCA opened the ASPCA Community Veterinary Center in the Bronx, New York. [23]

In 2020, the ASPCA launched a series of programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on pets, owners, and communities including free pet food for dogs, cats, and horses in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Asheville, grants to animal welfare organizations, emergency pet boarding services, a New York City COVID-19 Pet Hotline, and expanded stationary and mobile veterinary care. [24] [25]

In 2021, the ASPCA opened the ASPCA Community Veterinary Center supported by the Alex and Elisabeth Lewyt Charitable Trust, in NYC. [26]

In 2012, the ASPCA agreed to pay Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus $9.3 million to settle a lawsuit regarding the ASPCA's false allegations of animal cruelty by the circus. Courts found that ASPCA activists had paid the key witness, a former Ringling barn helper, at least $190,000, making him "essentially a paid plaintiff" who lacked credibility. [27] Edwin J. Sayres stepped down as CEO in 2012, and in 2013 longtime ASPCA staff member Matthew Bershadker was named president and CEO. [28]

The ASPCA’s Government Relations and Legal Advocacy and Investigations departments work with state and federal lawmakers and engage in legislative and litigation efforts to secure stronger legal protections for animals. [29]

Some of the animal welfare issues the departments work on include ending puppy mills and breed-specific legislation. [30] [31] [32]

In 2019, the ASPCA sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture for access to animal breeder inspection records. [33]

At the invitation of local agencies, the ASPCA deploys to sites of large-scale animal abuse, animal neglect, natural disasters, or man-made disasters in which animals are at risk. Teams including National Field Response, Legal Advocacy and Investigations, Forensic Sciences, the Cruelty Recovery Center, Relocation and the Behavioral Sciences team, engage in animal rescue efforts. They provide behavioral and medical treatment for the animals and support the prosecution of criminal cases with forensic science, evidence collection and analysis, legal and expert testimony support. [34]

Cases involving torture, killings and mistreatment of animals are some examples of cases handled by the ASPCA. A common example was displayed in the news in October 2008, when the ASPCA was in charge of an investigation involving the slaughtering of a beagle that lived in the Bronx. Brian McCafferty was charged with torturing and injuring his wife's beagle, Jerry, after an argument with his wife. The ASPCA conducted a necropsy that concluded that Jerry was stabbed twice and shot in the neck with a rifle. McCafferty claims that he was acting in self-defense when the dog attacked him. He was eventually released on bail. [35]

In 2016, ASPCA field deployment teams participated in a large animal cruelty rescue operation, rescuing nearly 700 animals from an unlicensed facility in North Carolina. [36]

Other large-scale ASPCA rescues included providing emergency sheltering and assistance for approximately 1,300 animals displaced during the Joplin tornado in 2011, and assisting with the care of 367 dogs in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia in 2013 in what is believed to be the second-largest dogfighting raid in U.S. history. [37] [38]

In September 2013, after many years of providing humane law enforcement services in NYC, the ASPCA and the New York City Police Department announced a collaboration to provide enhanced protection to New York City’s animals. [39] In this partnership, the NYPD responds to all animal cruelty complaints throughout New York City, while the ASPCA provides medical and behavioral care for animal cruelty victims and provides legal and forensic assistance in the prosecution of cases. [40] [41] The ASPCA Community Engagement team also works closely with NYPD to connect pets in need to services such as medical care, grooming and pet supplies. [42] [43]

In 2020, the ASPCA also opened the ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Science Center in Gainesville, Florida, to assist law enforcement with animal cruelty investigations and prosecutions. [44]

The ASPCA’s Farm Animal Welfare Program features a “Shop With Your Heart” campaign that guides consumers on making animal welfare-conscious food buying decisions including seeking out meat, egg, and dairy products certified by a one of three credible animal welfare certifications, including Global Animal Partnership (GAP), and exploring more plant-based food options. [45] [46]

The ASPCA’s Right Horse Initiative is focused on increasing the number of successful horse adoptions in the U.S. and improving the number of positive outcomes for horses in transition as they move from one home, career, or owner to the next. [47]

The ASPCA Animal Relocation Program transports animals from source shelters in locations with high homeless pet overpopulation to destination shelters, where there is a higher demand for adoptable animals. [48] [49]


U.S. Senate and House Leaders Introduce the “HEART” Act on Valentine’s Day to Protect Victims of Dogfighting

WASHINGTON– The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends federal lawmakers for introducing legislation to significantly improve the process of caring for animal victims seized in federal animal fighting cases. The Help Extract Animals from Red Tape (HEART) Act, S.513/H.R.1228, sponsored by Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Susan Collins (R-ME), and Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA) and John Katko (R-NY), will prevent unnecessary delays in the rehoming and rehabilitation of these animals. It will also require defendants to reimburse the costs of caring for animals seized in federal animal fighting cases.

Currently, when animals fall victim to cruelty and are seized in federal dogfighting busts, they often endure months or even years-long stays in shelters as the related cases make their way through the federal court system. While these cases are pending, animal welfare agencies house, feed, and provide critical veterinary and behavioral care for the seized animals. Even when high-quality care is provided, this extended period of legal limbo can cause extreme stress and behavioral problems, and also prevents them from being adopted into new homes.

The astronomical cost of sheltering seized animals for extended periods of time depletes the limited financial resources of animal protection agencies and local shelters, making it difficult or impossible for them to participate in rescue operations. When the care of animal victims cannot be confirmed, law enforcement is less likely to investigate and intervene in animal fighting operations. The HEART Act ensures that those claiming ownership of seized animals bear the financial responsibility for their care, while preserving these owners’ due process rights.

“Dogfighting is a brutal ‘blood-sport’ in which innocent animals are forced to train, fight and suffer for the entertainment and profit of spectators,” said Richard Patch, vice president, federal affairs of ASPCA Government Relations. “These animals have suffered enough at the hands of their abusers, and the red tape of the federal forfeiture system should not be a barrier to their adoption. We are grateful to Senators Harris and Collins, and Representatives Chu and Katko, for championing the HEART Act to streamline the process to give these victims of cruelty the chance they deserve to find safe and loving homes.”

“Abusing animals and intentionally provoking them is not only wrong, it’s immoral. When our government saves animals that have been victims of cruelty and abuse, we must do everything we can to ensure their welfare,” said Sen. Harris. “I’m proud to reintroduce this bill to streamline the process of getting these animals the care they need and ensuring that they are properly cared for in the future.”

“Animals who have been rescued from cruelty and abuse deserve to be placed in loving homes as soon as it is safely possible,” said Sen. Collins. “Based on recommendations by the Department of Justice’s Animal Cruelty Roundtable, the HEART Act would reduce the minimum amount of time animals must be held in shelters and alleviate the financial burdens that fall on those who care for seized animals. I urge our colleagues to join us in support of this bipartisan bill to better help animals that have experienced inhumane treatment.”

“Dog fighting is a particularly heinous crime that must be stamped out, but, unfortunately, when the animals are seized, the cost and care often falls on local shelters,” said Rep. Chu. “Court proceedings can take over a year, which means the cost of doing the right thing can total millions of dollars. Additionally, shelters are unable to rehabilitate these animals until the proceedings have completed, which leaves animals stressed. It’s unjust that taxpayers and local shelters are picking up the tab for the care of these animals. This bill would help remedy that by allowing courts to consider animal welfare when determining trial expediency and requiring responsible parties to reimburse taxpayers and shelters for the cost of caring for animals. I am so pleased to be able work bipartisanly to help keep animals safe and place responsibility where it belongs. And today’s introduction of the HEART Act brings us one crucial step closer.”

“Animals saved from fighting rings deserve to be matched with loving, caring homes. Furthermore, we must hold criminals legally and financially responsible for the abuse of these animals,” said Rep. Katko. “The HEART Act accomplishes both initiatives. Under this legislation, the disposition process is improved, animals spend less time in shelters, and individuals responsible for harming animals are required to pay the costs of the animals’ care. Animal abuse and neglect has no place in our society. I am proud to once again sponsor this legislation and will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to address this issue.”

In 2013, the ASPCA participated in the second-largest dogfighting case in U.S. history, a case that spanned four states and resulted in 10 arrests. Some of the 367 dogs rescued spent more than a year in temporary shelters until the criminal case was adjudicated. The ASPCA spent more than $3 million to care for the dogs, at an average cost of $39 per dog, per day. This is not uncommon, but fortunately, the HEART Act will help address these problems to allow courts to consider the animals’ welfare when considering further delays.

Although dogfighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, it continues to occur in every part of the country and in every type of community. In the past nine years, the ASPCA has assisted with approximately 200 dogfighting cases in at least 24 states, and has impacted through rescue, consultations and investigations nearly 5,000 victims of dogfighting.


Today in History: Born on October 10

Henry Cavendish, English physicist who measured the density and mass of the Earth.

Giuseppe Verdi, composer (Rigoletto, Aida).

Helen Hayes, American actress.

Alberto Giacometti, sculptor and painter.

Thelonius Monk, jazz pianist and composer.

James Clavell, novelist (Shogun, Noble House).

Harold Pinter, British playwright (The Homecoming, Betrayal).

Winston Spencer-Churchill, British politician grandson of famed Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.

John Prine, singer, songwriter influential for his poem-like lyrics ("The Great Compromise," "Blue Umbrella").

Ben Vereen, actor (Roots miniseries).

Wang Wanxing, Chinese rights advocate prisoner for 13 years in detention centers and psychiatric institutions (Ankang), he is the only person thus far to be released from these institutions and allowed to live in a Western country.

David Lee Roth, singer, songwriter, actor, author lead vocalist for hard rock band Van Halen member of Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame (2007).

Tanya Tucker, singer whose first hit, "Delta Dawn," came when she was just 13.

Daniel Pearl, journalist captured and beheaded by Al Queda in Pakistan Daniel Pearl Foundation to promote tolerance and understanding internationally founded in his memory.

Brett Favre, pro football player only pro quarterback to throw for over 70,000 yards, completing 6,000 passes, including over 500 for touchdowns.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., stock car racing driver and team owner won Most Popular Driver Award in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 10 times (2003–2012).


History

In the late 1800s, several Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had been established throughout the United States. Although these organizations met great successes throughout their existence, they lacked a unified voice in promoting the humane movement. So, four years later, delegates from 27 humane organizations from 10 states joined together in the first forum where they could combine their strength and unite their missions. It was at this meeting that American Humane was founded, and it immediately began to address one of its first tasks — to put an end to the inhumane treatment of farm animals and the deplorable conditions in which they were kept.

Since that fateful meeting in 1877, American Humane has held to our ideals, mission, and vision as the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the welfare of both children and animals. The mission of American Humane, as a network of individuals and organizations, is to prevent cruelty, abuse, neglect, and exploitation of children and animals and to assure that their interests and well-being are fully, effectively, and humanely guaranteed by an aware and caring society.

American Humane envisions a nation where no child or animal will ever be a victim of willful abuse or neglect. As a recognized leader in professional education, training and advocacy, research and evaluation, American Humane joins with other similarly missioned individuals and organizations to make this vision a reality.

History and Milestones

1877 American Humane — the country’s first national humane organization — was founded on October 9 in Cleveland, Ohio, by local humane society representatives from around the United States. The new organization’s first goal was to secure humane treatment for working animals and livestock in transit. 1878 Child safety and protection concerns became part of American Humane's agenda.

American Humane exposed unsanitary and inhumane conditions in slaughterhouses and began a long legislative battle to fight these conditions. 1879 American Humane passed a resolution to promote humane education in public schools and to discourage animal cruelty in classrooms experiments and demonstrations. 1883 Concerned about child abuse and abandoned babies, American Humane promoted the passage of the first Cruelty to Children Act. 1884 American Humane became the official name of the organization through an amendment to its constitution. 1885 American Humane advocated for “humane fountains” — still found in many city squares today — as one of many improvements in the care of fire department, police, and postal horses. Other improvements included humane shoeing and retirement for older and police horses. 1886 American Humane's constitution was amended to officially include children in its agenda.

American Humane proposed legislation to protect child stage performers and called for federal legislation to ban “frequent, large, and deep branding” of livestock. 1890 American Humane outspokenly opposed corporal punishment of children in school. 1891 American Humane launched a national campaign to draw attention to the increasing crime of infanticide. 1893 American Humane's member societies prosecuted 5,520 cases of cruelty to children. 1894 The Link® between violence toward animals and violence toward people was first mentioned at American Humane's annual convention: “The man who was cruel to his beast would be unkind to his wife and child.” 1898 Responding to intense pressure from American Humane, Congress passed a bill prohibiting the practice of vivisection (dissection of live animals) in schools and placed scientists who perform the procedure under governmental regulation and supervision. 1902 Along with the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union, American Humane formed a major committee to limit child labor in the emerging textile industry in the South. 1903 American Humane advocated for the rights of children in divorce cases.

American Humane incorporated under federal law as a not-for-profit organization in Washington, D.C. 1905 American Humane headquarters established in an abandoned hospital in suburban Albany, N.Y. Prior to this, the organization had no regular office, no furniture, and no paid employees. 1907 “Homes of rest,” which provided stalls, food, and pasture for horses too old to work, were a product of an American Humane campaign to improve treatment of workhorses. 1909 American Humane spearheaded a campaign for the passage of national child labor laws. 1910 American Humane joined in partnership with local police forces to prevent the abuse of workhorses and assist in cruelty investigations. 1912 American Humane spoke out in favor the rights of the child: “[A child] has a right to good health to good sanitary conditions in home and school to three good meals a day and to an everyday, useful education.” 1913 American Humane's quarterly magazine, The National Humane Review, was published for the first time. The magazine featured articles on humane issues, profiles of prominent humanitarians, briefs on humane legislation and reports from local organizations. President William H. Taft sent a telegram saying, “I am interested in humane education and the teaching of peace principles to the children of the United States and wish it success.” 1914 American Humane called for safe, off-street playgrounds.

Calling for reform of the foster care system, American Humane insisted that all potential foster parents undergo background investigations and established standards for children’s shelters, recommending separate facilities for boys and girls and insisting that authorities separate abused and neglected children from those who committed delinquent acts. 1915 American Humane initiated Be Kind to Animals Week® and launched a national poster contest for children. Be Kind to Animals Week is still celebrated annually during the first full week of May and is one of the oldest special weeklong observances in the U.S. 1916 The U.S. Secretary of War invited American Humane “to undertake the work of doing for Army animals what the American Red Cross is doing for soldiers.” American Humane created American Red Star Animal Relief to rescue wounded horses on the battlefields of World War I. 1920 After the war, the Red Star program turned its attention to rescuing animals caught in disaster areas, and provided money to purchase feed that saves thousands of elk in Yellowstone National Park from starving to death. 1921 American Humane called for legislation to protect children working in the motion picture industry. 1925 American Humane set up a committee to investigate cruelties in the training of animals for the movies. 1930 Rear Admiral Richard Byrd honored with American Humane's Humanity Medal for the special care and humane treatment of the dogs of his polar exhibition. 1931 American Humane approved a set of standards for child protection societies, which urged them to maintain the privacy rights of the children and adults they serve and to employ professional caseworkers. The organization also encouraged child welfare agencies to protect families and remove children from their parents only when absolutely necessary. 1932 American Humane campaigned against children being given and using firearms. 1933 American Humane launched a campaign to end the practice of giving children dyed chicks as Easter gifts. 1935 American Humane urged the Federal Bureau of Biological Survey to discontinue the use of poison in the control of predatory animals.

Following an incident in which some 1,400 lambs froze to death in transit, American Humane demanded that the Interstate Commerce Commission and Bureau of Industry create regulations to protect livestock shipped across state lines. 1936 American Humane petitioned the League of Nations and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for an international treaty calling on nations to stop polluting the seas and save bird life. 1937 The Mississippi River flooded and American Humane's Red Star Animal Relief helped rescue and feed stranded farm animals. 1940 After the 1939 filming of Jesse James, in which a terrified horse was killed after being forced to run off a cliff, American Humane opened its Western Regional Office in Hollywood, California, to fight cruelty to animals in film and television.

American Humane lobbied for a bill protecting the bald eagle, which President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law. 1941 American Humane established standards of operation for animal protection societies. The Association of Motion Picture Producers agreed to give American Humane open access to the sets of all movies using animals.

As the nation prepared for war, American Humane’s Red Star commissioned more than 400 civilians as animal aides, ready to serve in an attack. Millions of copies of Air Raid Precautions for Animals and Wartime Diet for Pets were distributed to the public.

Following the “date which will live in infamy,” Red Star deployed to Pearl Harbor to aid in the recovery efforts. 1943 The National Education Association and American Humane launched a campaign asking teachers throughout the United States to refrain from any kind of hatred in education and to protect children from racial or religious taunts. 1945 American Humane started a program to provide therapy dogs for recovering World War II veterans.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her dog, Fala, joined in an American Humane campaign for dogs to have identification tags.

American Humane urged that child labor laws be amended to forbid children under the age of 16 from performing dangerous manufacturing or mechanical jobs and from holding any sort of job that would require them to work during school hours. 1946 Red Star responded when a strike by railroad workers left animals across the country stranded on trains with no one to move them or unload them. Red Star volunteers provide water and food and save many cattle, sheep, swine, and poultry from starving to death.

The American Association of School Librarians named The National Humane Review as one of the 100 best publications in the country. 1947 American Humane started training programs for professional in humane fields. 1950 American Humane issued Standards for Child Protective Services Agencies, which clearly defined physical abuse, neglect and emotional abuse and identified a three-stage process of child protective work, including fact-finding, diagnosis and treatment. 1951 American Humane’s Western Regional Office created a “stamp of approval” awarded to films committed to humane practices in filming animals.

Ronald Reagan hosted the first ever PATSY (Picture Animal Top Star of the Year) Awards to honor outstanding animal actors. Jimmy Stewart presented an award to Molly for her work as Francis, the Talking Mule.

Red Star began training the equivalent of a “civilian defense corps” to care for animals in disasters. 1952 American Humane vocally opposed tobacco industries using animals in tests designed to measure the harshness of cigarette smoke on smokers’ throats.

Be Kind to Animals Week received the endorsements of the U.S. and Canadian governments. 1954 As American Humane’s influences grew nationwide, it moved its headquarters from Albany, N.Y. to Denver. 1955 American Humane published detailed guidelines on child protection standards and practices for child welfare practitioners, educators, and administrators. 1956 Vincent De Francis, director of Children’s Services at American Humane, published the results of the first national inventory of child protective services, which provided comprehensive report of the state of child welfare practice in the United States. 1957 American Humane published No Substitute for Child Protection and Interpreting Child Protective Services to Your Community by Vincent De Francis, aimed at broadening public understanding of child protection. 1958 The Humane Slaughter Act, long advocated by American Humane, is finally signed into law. The act required animals to be stunned unconscious prior to slaughter.

The PATSY awards were expanded to honor animals in television. 1959 The Royal SPCA in England and American Humane formed the International Society for the Protection of Animals. 1960 Vincent De Francis helped update the Child Welfare League of America’s standards for child protective services, which establish federal standards and funding for county and state welfare.

American Humane promoted state-level humane slaughter laws. To encourage participation by slaughterhouses not falling under the federal statute or state laws, American Humane created a “seal of approval,” awarded annually to meat companies that voluntarily met rigid humane slaughter standards. 1961 American Humane published Protective Services and Community Expectations by Vincent De Francis, which set the stage for community engagement in child protection.

American Humane protested the poisoning of fish, birds, and mammals by pesticides. 1963 American Humane proposed that all 50 states pass laws requiring doctors who discover injuries inflicted on children to report the cases to child protective services.

The National Humane Review, American Humane’s primary publication, celebrated its 50th anniversary and received a letter of congratulations from President John F. Kennedy. 1966 The Supreme Court disbanded the Hays Office, which gave American Humane its jurisdiction on movie sets. Although American Humane continued efforts to oversee productions, it was often banned from sets, and incidents of abuse, injury, and fatalities to animals used in movies and television escalated.

American Humane supported the passage of the Animal Welfare Act, which helped prevent pets from being stolen and sold to research labs. 1967 Red Star sent aid to help animals abandoned or left homeless after the Detroit riots. 1969 American Humane supported the passage of the Endangered Species Conservation Act, which provided protection for and prohibited the import of species in danger of worldwide extinction.

American Humane’s first comprehensive study of sexual abuse of children found that child sexual abuse occurred in far greater numbers than did reported cases of battering.

One of the most powerful hurricanes of all time — Hurricane Camille — struck the Gulf Coast, which brought our Red Star team to help in the rescue of animals caught in the storm. 1970 American Humane tackled pet overpopulation, suggesting that owners spay or neuter their animals. Critical attention was also drawn to the emergence of mass breeding operations, or “puppy mills.” 1971 An article in The National Humane Review exposed the widespread 1existence of cockfighting in the U.S. and called on law enforcement to crack down on the inhumane contests.

Red Star workers aided shore birds following a tanker spill in San Francisco.

American Humane testified in favor of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, with special regard to seal killing in the Pribilof Islands. 1972 American Humane’s first “No Animals Were Harmed”® end credit was issued to the movie The Doberman Gang.

A Peanuts cartoon featured Snoopy making out his will and leaving all of his belongings to American Humane.

American Humane developed a professional training curriculum and standards for child protection workers. 1973 The children’s television show Romper Room promoted Be Kind to Animals Week.

To bring attention to psychological abuse and neglect, American Humane’s Vincent De Francis testified at hearing leading to the creation of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.

American Humane urged Congress to enforce the Horse Protection Act. 1975 American Humane observed its first annual Adopt-A-Cat Month®, to encourage the adoption of cats from overcrowded animal shelters.

Despite the lack of a Congressional mandate, the National Livestock Dealers Association and the American Trucking Association approached American Humane for suggestion on making the transport of livestock in trucks more humane. 1976 With a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, American Humane began its National Study on Child Neglect and Abuse reporting in every state, collecting and analyzing child abuse reports to determine their characteristics.

American Humane supported an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act that adds protection for animals in transport. 1977 American Humane celebrated its centennial. Over the course of 100 years, the organization expanded its mission, influenced public policy, framed philosophies of animal and child protection and provided thousands of professionals and laymen with humane training and education. 1978 American Humane reported on the tuna industry’s killing of porpoises, and called for protective legislation in the United States and an international ban on killing porpoises.

American Humane led support for the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, proposed legislation that strengthened the original law and applied to all American slaughterhouses (not just those contracted with the government), and foreign slaughterhouses that exported to the United States. 1979 American Humane published its third nationwide survey of child protective services. The major finding was that the increase in child abuse reports was not matched by an increase in personnel, producing overwhelming caseloads and resulting in inadequate services. 1980 The public outcry over the callous disregard for animal safety and well-being during the filming of Heaven’s Gate resulted in the film industry reinstating American Humane’s authority to protect animals on set, through a contractual agreement with the Screen Actors Guild.

American Humane published the first edition of its landmark text, Helping in Child Protective Services, an influential resource for the public child welfare field.

After the eruption of Mount St. Helen’s, Red Star helped feed and temporarily house displaced pets. 1981 American Humane celebrated its first annual Adopt-A-Dog Month®, to encourage the adoption of dogs from local animal shelters.

American Humane developed a comprehensive child protection certification curriculum for the highly specialized field of child protective services. 1983 At American Humane’s urging, the U.S. House of Representatives established the Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families. 1984 The first issue of American Humane’s journal child welfare professionals, Protecting Children, is published.

To meet the critical need to educate animal control investigators in the special needs of horses, American Humane launched the first National Horse Abuse Investigations School. 1985 Backed by American Humane, anti-dogfighting laws were passed in Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

American Humane national reporting data showed documented child maltreatment reports topped 1 million for the first time. 1986 American Humane research revealed a five-year increase in child sexual abuse reports of 170 percent, prompting the organization to develop its child sexual abuse curriculum for child protective service workers.

American Humane was appointed to the Federal Wild Horse and Burros Advisory Board, which works for the management and protection of wild, free-roaming horses and burros on public lands. 1987 The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designated American Humane the National Resource Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, which provided leadership, resources, and training to the child welfare field.

American Humane established the first-ever prison program for taming wild horses to make them more adoptable: the Colorado Wild Horse Inmate Program. 1988 American Humane brought together leaders in the child protection field to develop a consensus on public policy philosophy. The result, called, a Framework for Advocacy, recommended the legislation and procedures focus on keeping families together and placing children in permanent homes.

American Humane issued the first formalized Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media, covering all “sentient beasts.” 1989 The Meacham Foundation Memorial Grant allowed American Humane to being awarding grants to shelters to provide financial assistance for building expansion or improvements that directly impact the welfare of animals.

American Humane successfully lobbied to double funding of the National Institutes of Health Biological Models and Materials Resources Section, which was charged with developing alternatives to the use of mammals in biomedical research.

American Humane developed its child protective services policy database, to gather and review state child welfare policies and procedures, the first and only national repository of state child welfare policy information in the United States. 1990 American Humane took a leadership role in addressing ethnic and cultural issues related to child protection. The organization supported the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Protection Act, which required reporting of abuse and provided for prevention and treatment in Native American Communities.

American Humane held its first national humane education workshop giving educators curriculum ideas and methods of teaching humane values.

In honor of the 75th anniversary of Be Kind to Animals Week, Congress passed a resolution declaring May 6-12, 1990 Be Kind to Animals and National Pet Week.

American Humane held its first National Cruelty Investigations School for animal control officers and shelter workers. 1991 To keep soldiers from having to permanently give up their pets, American Humane developed guidelines for animal shelters to foster pets of military reservists sent to the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm. 1992 The federal government reappointed American Humane to operate the National Resource Center on Child Abuse and Neglect. At the request of the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, American Humane held a national meeting of all major sectors of society concerned with child abuse.

The path of destruction from Hurricane Andrew was so great that Red Star responded in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas just for this storm alone. 1993 American Humane held a national meeting on disaster preparedness in Florida.

American Humane established the Be Kind to Animals Kid Contest to honor children who show exceptional care for animals.
American Humane testified before Congress in support of funding for state and local level family support and parenting programs and innovative child welfare services as family preservation, reunification, and respite care. 1994 American Humane was a founding member of the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, which gathered data on pets in the United States to help reduce the number of homeless pets.

American Humane launched a public awareness campaign about the need for adopting older dogs.

Following the Los Angeles earthquake, Red Star helped set up a temporary shelter in a public park to house animals who had fled from their homes when the quake hit. 1995 American Humane became a primary proponent of family group decision making (FGDM) in the U.S. FGDM is an innovative method of getting extended families involved in making critical decisions about children who are in the child welfare system.

American Humane established the Second Chance® Fund to provide grants to local animal care agencies to pay for medical expenses of animal victims of malicious violence. 1996 American Humane testified at a Congressional hearing on pet theft in support of the Pet Safety and Protection Act.

The organization co-sponsored a national forum on feral cats and publishes the first comprehensive report on issues surrounding feral cats and overpopulation.

American Humane issued a Campaign Against Violence kit to be used to gain stronger anti-cruelty laws in all states. 1997 American Humane launched The Front Porch Project® to directly involve community members in child protection.

American Humane issued the first-ever guide for shelters on handling the pets of domestic violence victims.

American Humane supported the passage of the Adoption and Safe Families Act, which speeds up decision making to free a child for adoption when living with his or her birth family is inadvisable. 1998 American Humane initiated a Humane Dog-Training Task Force to establish national standards to humane training of dogs.

The “No Animals Were Harmed”® website was launched to provide filmgoers with movie review that describe how animal action was achieved, a ratings system, a mechanism for people to ask questions and raise concerns, and information for producers. 1999 American Humane’s first Tag Day™ was celebrated to help lost pets get reunited with owners.

American Humane sent posters to advertising agencies advising how to portray animals in advertisements responsibly.

American Humane held a national forum on animal adoption procedure to discuss research and best practices for increasing animal adoptions.

American Humane-backed legislation passed, allowing all those in federally-assisted housing to benefit from the companionship of pets. 2000 American Humane launched its farm animal program to establish standards for the humane care of animals in agriculture and began certifying farms committed to raising livestock humanely.

American Humane received support from the Children’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to operate one of the first four Regional Quality Improvement Centers, focusing on substance abuse and child maltreatment. 2001 After terrorists attacked the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, American Humane’s Red Star® Animal Emergency Services delivered supplies and equipment to New York City and provided medical examinations, care and decontamination for search-and-rescue dogs. 2002 Red Star responded to the Rodeo-Chediski fire in Arizona, the largest wildfire in Arizona history. 2003 In response to the fatal shooting of a family dog in Tennessee, American Humane created “Bark…Stop, Drop &amp Roll,” a training to teach law enforcement officers safe dog handling.

Red Star sent response teams to hurricanes in North Carolina and tornadoes in Kansas. 2005 Red Star Animal Emergency Services deployed to Louisiana to help animal victims of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. With 18,000 man-hours logged by volunteers and staff over more than six weeks, it was the longest and most extensive disaster response in American Humane’s history.

American Humane held a national conference on emergency response in Alexandria, VA to review and analyze the successes and problems encountered during disaster relief efforts in the Gulf Coast region.

American Humane initiated the passage of landmark legislation to allow a wounded war veteran to adopt the bomb-sniffing dog she served with in Iraq. 2006 American Humane hosted its first differential response conference. Differential response is an approach that allows child protective services to respond differently to each child abuse report, depending on the severity of the abuse, the family’s history and other factors. To address growing issues in child welfare, American Humane established the Immigration and Child Welfare initiative and the Fatherhood initiative.

The American Red Cross and American Humane renewed a groundbreaking agreement to provide for mutual cooperation between the two organizations in the emergency relief of domestic animals, the assurance of their care, and the search for their owners.

Following devastating wildfires in Texas, which burned more than 1 million acres, Red Star responded with food, supplies, and medical attention for burned and displaced horses and cattle.

American Humane held its first Differential Response conference. Differential Response is an approach that allows child protective services to respond differently to each child abuse report depending on the severity of the abuse, the family’s history, and other factors. 2007 American Humane established the Child Protection Research Center to address long-standing issues related to the improvement of public child protective services. The Center examines the child welfare system’s racial disproportionality, among other issues.

Red Star deployed to Southeastern Colorado to dig out thousands of pigs and provide food and medical care for them after a blizzard caused 15-foot snow drifts. 2008 Denver Pet Partners, an animal-assisted therapy organization, became a program of American Humane.

American Humane established the Child Welfare Disparities Resource Center to address issues of how services are managed, resourced and provided based on race and ethnicity. 2009 UNICEF chose American Humane’s Child Protection Research Center and its partner, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, to work on its international household surveys on child discipline.

The majority of the nation’s cage-free egg producers became certified by the American Humane Certified™ farm animal program. 2010 Along with other animal welfare organizations, American Humane joined the Animal Relief Coalition for Haiti to provide funding and emergency response services for animals affected by the earthquake.

Began a ground-breaking partnership with Pfizer to determine how animal-assisted therapy can improve the health and well-being of children with cancer, and their families.

Red Star deployed a team to help the animals affected by the devastating earthquake in Haiti. 2011 Established the Animal Welfare Research Institute to explore and achieve advances in predictive, preventive and participatory methods to save animals’ lives and improve their quality of life.

Launched the American Humane Hero Dog Awards™ to honor dogs who transform people’s lives through unconditional love, devotion and intuition.

As the world watched in horror over the combined earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear incident in Fukushima, Japan, American Humane mobilized resources and financial aid for animal rescue organizations in Japan.

Dire flooding in Memphis and Minot, North Dakota brought Red Star teams to provide care and sheltering for the affected animals.

In response to a catastrophic tornado afflicting Joplin, Missouri, Red Star was deployed to help the animals in need. 2012 Launched the Children’s Innovation Institute to improve the welfare, wellness and well-being of America’s children.

Red Star Rescue services was sent to Memphis on an emergency deployment to shelter more than 50 dogs seized from the back of an animal hoarder’s truck. The animals were airlifted to safe shelters where they were adopted into forever homes.

American Humane and Pfizer Animal Health released Phase I of a groundbreaking new research study, “Canines and Childhood Cancer,” on the beneficial effects of animal-assisted therapy on children with cancer. The results were reported worldwide.

Following some of the worst wildfire conditions in our nation’s history, Red Star teams deployed to the Colorado Springs area, sheltering animals, and reuniting more than 200 with their families.

After the movie theatre shootings in Aurora, CO, American Humane worked to give parents, teachers, and others information to help children cope with and overcome the trauma.

American Humane released a major new research report, “Keeping Pets (Dogs and Cats) in Homes Retention Study,” seeking to keep pets in their homes and reduce the number of healthy, adoptable animals being destroyed in shelters each year.

Red Star Rescue services deployed to Tennessee to intervene in a mass cruelty case involving 168 animals in terrible condition. Medical care, sheltering, and adoption services were provided to the dehydrated, hungry, and frightened animals.

American Humane’s Animal Welfare Research Institute released a survey, “People, Pets and the World We Share,” demonstrating the lasting impact pets have on children.

Our Red Star Rescue teams deployed to help the 30 million animals in the path of Hurricane Sandy, bringing help, hope and more than 100,000 pounds of emergency food, medicine and supplies to the eastern seaboard with the help of MARS Petcare US, makers of Pedigree® brand, Whiskas® brand, and Royal Canin® brand, Pfizer Animal Health, Cat’s Pride© cat litter, FreeHand™ pet food, Always Express, Yukon Graphics, and Julian James Advertising Design. 2013 Released vital new data showing that of all the animals adopted from shelters, up to 1 million are lost, die, or given away within six months.

Deployed our Red Star Animal-Assisted Therapy team to help children, families, and mourners following the Boston terror bombings.

Partnered with major corporations to provide millions of dollars of food and health supplies to the nation’s shelters.

Sent our animal rescue teams to save lost and frightened animals left homeless in the wake of the EF-5 tornado that wiped out Moore, Oklahoma.

Released results from the second phase of a groundbreaking research study designed to measure the effectiveness of therapy dogs in helping children with cancer.

Provided a major grant to help the more than 1,000 animals still languishing in shelters two years after the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown.

Quintupled the number of animals under the protection of our Farm Animal Program, from 200 million to 1 billion.

Provided therapy animals for the children of military families at more than 10 “Operation Purple” summer camps across the nation.

Reached hundreds of millions of people with information designed to protect children and animals from abuse, neglect, manmade and natural disasters.

Assisted with the second-largest dog-fighting raid in U.S. history, helping to shelter and care for 267 animals.

The National Fire Dog Monument, America’s first national tribute to arson dogs and their handlers, was permanently installed in Washington, D.C. through the efforts of American Humane and State Farm. 2014 Responded within hours to the deadly EF-5 tornado that devastated Moore, Oklahoma. American Humane Rescue responders spent more than a month in Oklahoma, helping to rescue and shelter animals impacted by the storm.

Worked to rescue 146 animals, including dogs, cats, ducks, chickens and turtles, caught in the historic flooding in Colorado.

Sheltered and cared for more than 250 animals seized by a coalition of humane organizations in the second largest dog-fighting raid in U.S. history.

Worked with The Weather Channel to distribute lifesaving tips for families, children and pets to 100 million people nationwide.

Served the children of our military families with Operation Purple and victims of tragedies such as the Boston Marathon bombings through our pioneering animal-assisted therapy program.

Conducted groundbreaking humane research to help children with cancer, and national research to save more of the 3-4 million animals euthanized each year by finding new ways to increase pet retention. 2015 Celebrated the 100th anniversary of our “Be Kind to Animals Week®,” the oldest commemorative week in U.S. history, as well as the 100th anniversary of the Red Star® Rescue Animal Emergency Services program.

Deployed to Tennessee to assist authorities in a shocking raid that found nearly two dozen animals starving.

Rushed to the aid of more than 100 helpless animals found in terrible condition at a New Jersey shelter, as well as 66 animals in dire need at a reservation in South Dakota.

Celebrated the fifth American Humane Hero Dog Awards®, naming Harley, a puppy mill survivor, as America’s top hero dog for his work in saving other victims like him and educating Americans about the horrific abuses in those facilities. 2016 Saved animals nationwide in daring rescue missions from South Carolina to Spokane, including a massive transcontinental transport campaign that rescued hundreds of animals from almost certain death and gave them forever homes.

Secured major victories for millions of farm animals by partnering with major food chains and food services including Taco Bell, Unilever, Einstein Bros Bagels, Peet’s Coffee and Caribou Coffee to use American Humane Certified® farm products throughout their extensive supply chains.

Helped America’s brave veterans and military hero dogs as Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act containing language advocated by American Humane guaranteeing a retirement on U.S. soil for all military working dogs and giving their former handlers first rights of adoption.

Celebrated the launch of a powerful new voice for children and animals – the new, bipartisan “Congressional Humane Bond Caucus” – and hosted three Capitol Hill briefings in 2015.

Released a major white paper on the important role working dogs play in our lives, a study surveying the “State of America’s Children,” and a study on the important educational value of “Pets in the Classroom.” 2017 Saved and sheltered thousands of frightened, hurt and hungry animals left homeless by the West Virginia floods, the Tennessee wildfires and the historic deluge in Louisiana – the deadliest natural disaster since Superstorm Sandy.

First to serve the staggering numbers of animals abandoned to the country’s shelters, working with Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food in a nationwide effort to provide one million nutritious, free meals to pets anxiously awaiting their forever homes.

Launched the American Humane Conservation™ program, the world’s first effort dedicated solely to protecting and helping ensure good living conditions and humane treatment for the millions of creatures being preserved in the world’s zoos, aquariums and conservation centers.

Provided 27 grants last year to help veterans secure lifesaving service dogs. 2018 Saved, sheltered, and fed more than 600,000 animals in desperate need, with American Humane Rescue deploying to help thousands of animal victims of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as the California wildfires.

Helped ensure the safety of nearly 100,000 animals on film and television productions through our No Animals Were Harmed® program.

Verified the well-being of 250,000 remarkable animals through our American Humane Conservation™ program in zoological facilities around the world.

Worked to improve the lives of some one million farm animals by helping ensure humane living conditions and treatment through our American Humane Farm program. 2019 Collaborated with United Airlines to identify critical animal welfare needs within pet travel.

Verified the well-being of 315,000 remarkable animals through our Humane Conservation™ program in zoos and aquariums around the world.

Saved, sheltered and fed more than 200,000 animals in desperate need following Hurricanes Florence and Michael, the Oklahoma floods and major cruelty cases.


The law

We've always been influential in forming and improving animal welfare law.

In 1822, two years before we were founded, 'Martin's Act' was passed. It was the very first animal welfare law and it forbade 'the cruel and improper treatment of cattle'.

Thirteen years on, in 1835, and 'Pease's Act' consolidated this law. The prohibition of cruelty was extended to dogs and other domestic animals, bear-baiting and cock-fighting was forbidden, and it insisted on better standards for slaughter houses.

Other successes along the way have included laws for lab animals, the abolition of fur farming in the UK, the ban of fox hunting with dogs and the animal welfare act.

Today we are still changing the law - find out how.


ASPCA Commends U.S. Reps. Chu, Katko for Introducing Federal Bill to Protect Victims of Animal Fighting

WASHINGTON , March 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends federal lawmakers for reintroducing legislation to significantly improve the process of caring for animal victims seized in federal animal fighting cases. The Help Extract Animals from Red Tape (HEART) Act, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.), will prevent unnecessary and harmful delays in the rehabilitation of these animals. It will also require defendants to reimburse the costs of caring for animals seized in federal animal fighting cases following a forfeiture proceeding.

Currently, when animals fall victim to cruelty and are seized in federal dogfighting busts, they often endure months or even years-long stays in shelters as the related cases make their way through the federal court system. While these cases are pending, animal welfare agencies house, feed, and provide critical veterinary and behavioral care for the seized animals. Even when high-quality care is provided, this extended period of legal limbo can cause extreme stress and behavioral problems, and can prevent them from being adopted into new homes.

The astronomical cost of sheltering seized animals for extended periods of time depletes the limited financial resources of animal protection agencies and local shelters, making it difficult or impossible for them to participate in rescue operations. Law enforcement is far less likely to investigate and intervene in animal fighting operations when they are unsure if animal protection agencies can bear the cost and burden of caring for seized animals. The HEART Act ensures that those claiming ownership of seized animals will continue to bear the financial responsibility for their care, without impacting due process rights.

"Animal fighting is a horrific 'blood-sport' in which innocent victims are forced to train, fight and suffer for the debased entertainment and profit of spectators," said Richard Patch , vice president of federal affairs for the ASPCA. "Animals rescued in federal animal fighting cases have suffered enough at the hands of their abusers, and the red tape of the forfeiture system should not be a barrier to their eventual adoption. The ASPCA is grateful to Representatives Chu and Katko for their continued leadership in championing the HEART Act to streamline the process to give these victims of cruelty the chance they deserve to find safe and loving homes."

"I'm proud to be reintroducing the HEART Act with Rep. John Katko to ensure that victims of animal fighting are able to receive the care and rehabilitation that they deserve," said Rep. Chu. "When terrible dog fighting rings are broken up, trials and legal proceedings can take months or years, during which rescued dogs must be cared for by the government. Often, this means they are held in overburdened animal shelters for long periods of time with no chance of adoption until their case is decided. By shortening the time that these animals must be held as evidence, this bill will provide them with a chance at a new life while providing accountability and ensuring that the costs must be paid by those responsible for this cruelty in the first place."

"Animals saved from fighting rings deserve to be matched with loving, caring homes. Furthermore, we must hold criminals legally and financially responsible for the abuse of these animals," said Rep. Katko. "The HEART Act accomplishes both initiatives. Under this legislation, the disposition process is improved, animals spend less time in shelters, and individuals responsible for harming animals are required to pay the costs of the animals' care. Animal abuse and neglect has no place in our society. I am proud to once again sponsor this legislation and will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to address this issue."

In 2013, the ASPCA participated in the second-largest dogfighting case in U.S. history, a case that spanned four states and resulted in 10 arrests. Some of the 367 dogs rescued spent more than a year in temporary shelters until the criminal case was adjudicated. The ASPCA spent more than $3 million to care for the dogs, at an average cost of $39 per dog, per day. This is not uncommon, but fortunately, the HEART Act will help address these problems to allow courts to consider the animals' welfare when considering further delays.

Although dogfighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia , it continues to occur in every part of the country and in every type of community. In the past decade, the ASPCA has assisted with approximately 200 dogfighting cases in at least 24 states, and has impacted through rescue, consultations and investigations nearly 5,000 victims of dogfighting.


ASPCA Sues USDA for its Non-Enforcement Policy on the Animal Welfare Act

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), represented by Cooley LLP, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for abandoning its responsibility to enforce the Animal Welfare Act (AWA)—a federal law passed more than 50 years ago to ensure the humane treatment and care of commercially bred dogs.

There are approximately 2,000 commercial dog breeders and dealers licensed by the USDA, and at any given point, these facilities house about a quarter of a million dogs and puppies, with most of the puppies sold at pet stores or over the Internet.

Because these businesses generally are not open to the public, Congress has directed the USDA to inspect their facilities to ensure they provide minimum standards of care. The USDA is required to identify violations of the law during inspections so that dog dealers who violate the law may be held accountable through the use of penalties provided for in the AWA, such as fines and license revocation.

Contrary to this Congressional mandate, the USDA has chosen to let violations go unreported and unpunished. The agency has not imposed a single penalty against a dog dealer since 2017, despite overwhelming evidence of cruelty. Instead, the agency has adopted a "customer service" approach that has been proven ineffective by the agency's own research.

"The USDA has abdicated its critical responsibility to use the Animal Welfare Act to stop animal cruelty, allowing commercial breeders to put their profit motives above the welfare of vulnerable animals in their care," said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. "The agency's adamant refusal to take action against inhumane dog dealers is an unlawful rejection of its obligation, and sadly indicates that animal suffering at the hands of USDA-licensed breeders will be tolerated, despite the intention and authority of the AWA to protect those animals."

Beginning in 2017, the USDA formalized various policies that direct inspectors to disregard violations in certain circumstances. According to agency policy, if a violation is "minor", it is a "Teachable Moment" not a violation if a violation is observed during a "Courtesy Visit", it is not reported. As a result, the number of reported violations has declined significantly in recent years. Prior to adopting these policies, USDA inspectors recorded close to 2,000 violations each year. In 2018, after these policies were formalized, the number of violations cited on inspection reports declined to 280, and in 2020, the number declined further to just over 150.

Even in the cases where violations were recorded on official reports – dogs caged outdoors in freezing temperatures, puppies with visible ribs, dogs with open wounds, dogs in cages so small they could not stand and dogs fed food contaminated by rodents – the agency did not act.

"The USDA refers to licensed dog dealers as the agency's 'customers' and their deliberate refusal to enforce the law – even when licensees have subjected dogs to egregious suffering – demonstrates that the agency believes its customers' interests always come first," said Robert Hensley, Legal Advocacy Senior Counsel for the ASPCA. "The agency has been asleep on the job and we're asking the court to end the USDA's customer service approach that has caused so much harm to the animals it has a legal and moral obligation to protect."

The ASPCA Legal Advocacy department focuses on increasing legal protections for animals across the country and shaping stronger animal welfare laws through the judicial system. The ASPCA's Barred From Love campaign urges the public to speak out against cruel breeding and also encourages dog lovers to adopt from a local shelter or rescue group or learn how to identify a responsible breeder.

For more information about the ASPCA's efforts to protect dogs in commercial breeding facilities, visit www.aspca.org.

To download photos or videos of AWA violations documented during routine USDA inspections, please click here.


Watch the video: This Day in History, April 30 (May 2022).