Displaying items by tag: HSUS

California retains first place; South Dakota holds last

(Jan. 15, 2013)—The Humane Society of the United States, the nation’s largest animal protection organization, has released its fourth annual “Humane State Ranking” report, a comprehensive analysis of animal protection laws in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. The HSUS graded states on the strength of a wide range of animal protection laws, including public policies dealing with animal cruelty and fighting, pets, wildlife, equines, animals in research, and farm animals.

California earned first place for the fourth year in a row, while South Dakota remained in last place. Ohio was the most improved state, leaping ahead in the ranks by passing laws regulating puppy mills and the private possession of dangerous wild animals. To see the complete 2012 Humane State Rankings, click here.

“Members of The Humane Society of the United States want to know what their state lawmakers are doing to improve animal welfare. Our Humane State Ranking report demonstrates which states are falling behind important protections for animals, and which states are leading in the effort to create a more humane and civil society,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “Ohio made great progress, but the Dakotas are lagging badly and are clearly out of step with so much of the rest of the country when it comes to animal welfare policies. Animal protection matters to Americans, and our laws must line up with our values.”

California stayed on top for the fourth year in a row by passing a number of new laws, including a law banning the hound hunting of bears and bobcats. Other top states are Massachusetts (tied for second place) for passing a law allowing pets to be included in domestic violence protection orders, and banning gas chambers for euthanasia; Illinois (tied for second place) for passing a ban on shark fin products; Oregon (fourth place); New Jersey (tied for fifth place) for passing a horse slaughter ban; and Maine (tied for fifth place).

South Dakota earned the lowest score (51st place). Other states near the bottom include Idaho (50th place), Mississippi (49th place), North Dakota (48th place) and South Carolina (47th place).

South Dakota and North Dakota received especially low marks in part because they are the only two states in the country with no felony-level penalties for malicious acts of animal cruelty. North Dakota could have pulled ahead this year, but voters rejected a ballot measure to increase penalties for egregious acts of animal cruelty on the November 2012 ballot, keeping the state squarely at the bottom of the list.

In 2012, The HSUS helped pass 74 new laws and regulations to protect animals and helped to defeat more than 100 harmful measures.

The ranking was based on 75 different animal protection issues in 10 major animal protection categories including: animal fighting; animal cruelty; wildlife abuse; exotic pets; companion animals; use of animals in research; farm animals; fur and trapping; puppy mills, and equine protection.

The Humane Society of the United States Announces Milestone Number of Puppy Friendly Pet Stores Nationwide

(Dec. 14, 2012) –The Humane Society of the United States reached a milestone for its Puppy Friendly Pet Stores program with the 2,000th pet store agreeing to take a stand against puppy mills by refusing to sell puppies. Within hours, three other stores added their names to this growing list – meaning that 2003 stores, spread across all 50 states, are standing up for the welfare of breeding dogs and puppies.

“These stores have made the responsible decision to pledge not to sell puppies now or in the future, and some of them have even transitioned from selling commercially-raised puppies to an adoptions-only model,” said Melanie Kahn, senior director of The HSUS' puppy mills campaign. “The Humane Society of the United States applauds these businesses for being leaders in the humane economy.”

The majority of pet stores in the United States that sell puppies utilize puppy mills, mass production facilities that churn out large numbers of puppies under inhumane conditions. Again and again, such stores have been found to be misleading consumers with stories about getting puppies from responsible breeders, when in fact puppy mills are a key part of their supply chain.

Just this week, The HSUS released its third annual investigation of pet stores, linking dozens of pet stores in the Chicagoland area to more than 2,000 puppies shipped from puppy mills.

Increasingly, owners of pet stores are realizing they don’t need to sell puppies to run a successful pet-related business, and they are saving lives almost every day. In October, The HSUS worked with two pet stores in Wyoming to help convert them completely from puppy sales to supporting local shelter adoptions.

The HSUS encourages shoppers to purchase pet supplies at stores displaying the Puppy Friendly Pet Stores sign, which states, “We Love Puppies, That’s Why We Don’t Sell Them.” Store owners who sign The HSUS’ Puppy Friendly Pet Stores pledge receive free literature for their customers on how to find a puppy from a reputable source, and encouraging pet lovers to support local shelters.

A list of all the participating stores is available at humanesociety.org/puppystores.

The HSUS encourages adoption from local shelters or rescues as a first choice, and also provides tips on finding responsible breeders at humanesociety.org/puppy.

Puppy Mill Facts:

  • Approximately one-third of the nation's 9,000 independent pet stores sell puppies.
  • The HSUS estimates that 2 million to 4 million puppy mill puppies are sold each year in the United States; meanwhile 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters each year for lack of homes.
  • Documented puppy mill conditions include over-breeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor food and shelter, crowded cages and lack of socialization.
  • Dogs kept for breeding in puppy mills suffer for years in continual confinement. They are bred as often as possible and then destroyed or discarded once they can no longer produce puppies.
  • Pet stores and online sellers often use attractive websites to hide the truth and to dupe consumers into thinking that they are dealing with a small, reputable breeder.
  • Puppy mills contribute to the pet overpopulation problem, which results in millions of unwanted dogs euthanized at shelters every year.

(Dec. 7, 2012)—For singer/songwriter Colbie Caillat, celebrating the holidays means being surrounded by the ones you love—including your pets. As a spokesperson for The Humane Society of the United States, Caillat shares some simple tips for keeping pets safe from holiday hazards, and for bringing a new pet into your household during this busy season.

Adopt your next pet: If you’re thinking about adding a pet to your family, now or any time of year, choose adoption from your local animal shelter or rescue group. “There are so many great dogs, cats and other pets just waiting in shelters for a second chance and you can save a life,” Caillat says. Her own two dogs, a golden retriever named Plum and a mixed breed named Mate, are adopted.

Caillat, who has been a spokesperson for The HSUS’ Stop Puppy Mills campaign, adds that people should not yield to impulse purchases during the holidays and under no circumstances should they buy pets from pet stores or online animal dealers. Most of their dogs come from puppy mills, where animals are generally kept in poor conditions.

Think twice before giving an animal as a gift: Because the recipient may not be ready for the commitment involved with the lifetime care of a pet, Caillat and The HSUS recommend people to instead give the gift of adoption. Many shelters offer adoption gift certificates, and this lets the adopter choose the perfect lifetime companion for them, when they have time to bond. If gift certificates aren’t available, consider buying the person a gift membership to their local shelter and/or The HSUS or making a donation in their name.

Make the holidays safe for your pets: As much joy as pets bring to the holidays, The HSUS and Caillat warn that the holidays can bring hazards for pets. But with a little preparation and caution, pets and people alike can enjoy the festivities.

  • A number of seasonal plants are poisonous to pets if nibbled or eaten, including ivy, holly, mistletoe and others. For more information, click here.
  • Keep holiday decorations away from pets. Tinsel, bows, ribbons and wrapping paper can be tempting chew toys for pets, but can damage their digestive systems. Remember to keep tree ornaments high enough that they’re out of your pet’s reach.
  • Don’t leave candles unattended. Pets may accidentally knock them over and spill wax or start a fire.
  • Keep a close eye on your pet, especially if he is dressed in a festive collar or outfit for the holiday. Ensure there are no chewable parts or pieces that could break off and choke your pet. Do not leave them unattended in costume.
  • Provide your pet with a quiet, out-of-the-way room during holiday parties. Though some pets may enjoy socializing opportunities, others will be overwhelmed by the excitement of a party.
  • As you enjoy candy and other treats during the holidays, please don’t share with your pets. Chocolate can be hazardous, but also watch out for xylitol, a common sweetener. And individually-wrapped candies are double trouble as some pets might eat both the candy and the wrapper.
  • Avoid the urge to give your pets table scraps, especially bones. Bones easily splinter and can cause serious health problems, even death.
  • If you are planning to take your pet with you when visiting friends and relatives during the holidays, be sure to contact them in advance to find out if your pet is welcome. Because of the excitement during the holidays, it might be best to board your pet or hire a reputable pet sitter instead.
  • Both guests and hosts enjoy a well-behaved pet. Practice good behaviors with your pet, like sit and stay, in advance of the holidays so they can be part of the fun with you.
  • Remember that pet birds are especially sensitive to airborne particles and shouldn’t be near burning candles, potpourri, or any cookware with a non-stick surface.

The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without gifts, of course. Our online store Humane Domain carries a wide array of pet products and toys, as well as gifts for animal lovers, including apparel, jewelry, sleepwear, decorative accessories, and holiday cards and decorations. Ten to 20 percent of every purchase made at Humane Domain benefits HSUS programs and campaigns. Check out our other great gift ideas for adults, children, pets and the avid reader by visiting humanesociety.org/shop.

And if you’re looking for a soundtrack for the season, check out Colbie Caillat’s first holiday album, “Christmas in the Sand,” with original and classic holiday songs and guest appearances from Brad Paisley, Gavin DeGraw and more. Caillat and her two rescued dogs are also featured in a new book, “A Letter to My Dog: Notes to Our Best Friends” published by Chronicle Books and available wherever books are sold.

For more information about pet adoption, finding a responsible breeder, and how to avoid buying from a puppy mill, visit humanesociety.org/puppy. Find out more about Colbie Caillat and her holiday album at www.colbiecaillat.com.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Positive Finding on

Groups’ Petition to List Lions as Endangered

WASHINGTON D.C. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that the African lion may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), following an initial review of a petition seeking to protect the species which was filed by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Humane Society International (HSI), Born Free USA, Born Free Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife and the Fund for Animals. The groups thanked the federal agency for its preliminary positive 90-day finding on the petition to protect lions.

“Today’s decision is an important first step as we work to protect the African lion—a species confronted with mounting threats and a steep population decline,” said Jeff Flocken, DC Office Director, IFAW. “The ESA is the most powerful law we have to safeguard the African lion against the unnecessary threat of U.S. trophy hunters.”

The number of African lions has declined by more than 50 percent in the past three decades, with fewer than 35,000 believed remaining today. Despite the significant and continued declines in population and range, the number of lion trophies imported to the United States is increasing. Listing the African lion as Endangered would generally prohibit the import of lion trophies into the United States, an essential step to reversing the current decline of the population.

“African lions are in danger of losing the land they require in order to thrive, are exposed to a variety of deadly diseases, are slaughtered for their meat and organs or in retaliatory killings – including by gruesome poisoning – as a result of livestock predation, and are killed for trophies and commercial sale of their parts,” noted Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA. “The US government deserves high praise for taking the necessary first step toward ensuring a chance at survival for this beleaguered species.”

“The African lion has been pushed to the brink of extinction in part by irresponsible American trophy hunters,” said Teresa Telecky, Director, Wildlife Department, Humane Society International. “It’s time for the U.S. government to recognize the perilous state of this species and put the brakes on killing rare animals to get one’s name in a trophy book.”

Now that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued its positive preliminary 90-day finding on the petition, the agency will next receive information from scientists and the public about the status of the African lion to determine whether an endangered listing would be appropriate.

For more information visit www.helpafricanlions.org.

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NYC Animal Planning Task Force Urges Pet Owners to
Plan Ahead in Preparation for Hurricane Sandy

Agencies provide disaster preparedness tips, remind public that shelters are pet friendly

NEW YORK—At the request of the New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM), animal welfare agencies in the OEM’s Animal Planning Task Force urge pet owners to develop an emergency evacuation plan to keep their families and pets safe before Hurricane Sandy makes landfall in New York City.

The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C), the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and NYC Veterinary Emergency Response Team (NYC VERT) are reminding pet owners that all evacuation shelters are pet friendly. Several evacuation shelters opened their doors this afternoon, and pet owners should check the OEM's Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder to locate the nearest evacuation zone, and the system will direct pet owners to the proper facility. The public can also obtain this information by calling 311.

“The best thing you can do for you and your pet is to plan ahead before Hurricane Sandy makes landfall,” said Dr. Dick Green, director of Disaster Response for the ASPCA. “Don’t wait until the last minute to see if the storm will affect your neighborhood. Act now, find your nearest evacuation shelter, and tune in to your local news to monitor the storm’s condition. And remember, all of the City’s evacuation shelters for humans are pet friendly, so please take your pets with you if you need to evacuate.”

The Animal Planning Task Force offers the following tips on disaster preparedness:

  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster.
  • Make sure all pets wear collars and ID tags with up-to-date identification. Micro-chip your pet as a more permanent form of identification.
  • Keep a pet emergency kit and supplies handy with items such as medical records, water, pet food and medications, and pet first aid supplies. Take this with you if you evacuate.
  • Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. Do not leave your pets behind.
  • Choose a designated caregiver who can take care of your pet in the event you are unable.

Low-lying areas of the city that are most at risk for flooding and other damage and are designated as “Zone A” low-lying areas in the Coastal Storm Plan include: Coney Island and Manhattan Beach in Brooklyn; Far Rockaway and Broad Channel in Queens; South Beach; Midland Beach; low-lying areas on Staten Island; and Battery Park City in Manhattan. For details and updates, please visit the OEM’s website at www.NYC.gov/oem, or call 311 to find an evacuation center.

New York City's Office of Emergency Management created the Animal Planning Task Force to develop plans for disasters — both natural and otherwise. The task force includes representatives from the ASPCA, the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals, AC&C, HSUS, NYC VERT, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, American Red Cross in Greater New York, Bideawee, Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Veterinary Medical Assistance Team One.

These agencies have also committed resources that include animal sheltering, veterinary support, search and rescue, supplies, staff, volunteers, and transport to provide aid in the days ahead.

For more information on disaster preparedness and safety tips from the ASPCA, please visit http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness/. For updates on the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the animals in New York City, please visit http://blog.aspca.org/content/how-prepare-your-pets-hurricane-sandy.

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

About Animal Care & Control
Animal Care & Control of New York City (AC&C) is the largest pet organization in the North East, with nearly 40,000 animals rescued each year. As a non-profit organization since 1995, AC&C has been responsible for New York City’s municipal shelter system; rescuing, caring for and finding loving homes for homeless and abandoned animals in New York City. AC&C facilities operate in all five boroughs to service all NYC communities.

About the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals®
The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, Inc., founded in 2002 and powered by Maddie’s Fund®, The Pet Rescue Foundation, with support from the ASPCA, is a coalition of more than 150 animal rescue groups and shelters working with Animal Care & Control of New York City (AC&C) to end the killing of healthy and treatable cats and dogs at AC&C shelters. To achieve that goal, the Alliance, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, helps its Alliance Participating Organizations (APOs) work to their highest potential to increase pet adoptions and spay/neuter rates, with the goal of transforming New York City into a no-kill community by 2015. www.AnimalAllianceNYC.org.

About The Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protection organization. For more than a half-century The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. We are supported by more than 11 million Americans. The HSUS - Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty. On the Web at humanesociety.org.

About New York City Veterinary Emergency Response Team
New York City Veterinary Emergency Response Team is a volunteer group of veterinarians, brought together by their work following 9/11, who are dedicated to supporting New York City's working and companion animals in times of disaster.

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Awardees include law enforcement, prosecutors and state agencies committed to rescuing animals from harm and enforcing animal protection laws

(Sept. 12, 2012)—The Humane Society of the United States is presenting its 2012 Humane Law Enforcement Awards to authorities across the country who have taken an exemplary stand against animal cruelty. It is the fourth year The HSUS has presented Humane Law Enforcement Awards and this year’s awardees are from Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, California, Florida, Virginia and West Virginia.

"The Humane Society of the United States celebrates the work of law enforcement to crack down on animal fighting, puppy mills, the illegal wildlife trade, poaching, and other forms of cruelty and abuse,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “The 2012 Humane Law Enforcement Award recipients exemplify the best of law enforcement in protecting animals from needless violence and harm, and we are privileged to honor them.”

Awardees for 2012 are Caldwell County, N.C., Animal Control; Alachua County, Fla., Animal Services and Alachua County, Fla. Assistant State’s Attorney Deborah Hunt; Galveston, Texas, Police Department Sgt. Joel Caldwell; Calhoun County, W.Va., Sheriff Carl Ballengee; Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli; Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks; and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and the California Department of Fish and Game for Operation Cyberwild.

The 2012 Humane Law Enforcement Awards recipients:

About the Caldwell County, N.C., Animal Control award: Caldwell County Animal Control Officers Greg Greene and Shanon Foster received an anonymous tip in June 2011 reporting the possible neglect of dogs living at a Hudson, N.C., residence. Greene and Foster investigated, called on The HSUS for help removing the animals, and seized about 300 dogs--mostly Pomeranians and other small-breed dogs--from crowded, feces-encrusted enclosures. Rescued animals were placed in shelters, rescues or homes, and the owners of the puppy mill pleaded guilty to 104 counts of animal cruelty.

About the Alachua County, Fla., Animal Services and Alachua County Assistant State’s Attorney Deborah Hunt award: In July 2011, Alachua County Animal Services led the successful raid of pseudo-sanctuary Haven Acres, which resulted in the rescue of about 700 cats who were found living in deplorable conditions. After the rescue, which was supported by The HSUS, Alachua Animal Services provided ongoing veterinary and staff support for the animals. Both Haven Acres owners pleaded no contest to 47 counts of felony animal cruelty and both were sentenced to 15 years of probation, prohibited from owning or rescuing cats and ordered to pay restitution to The HSUS. All adoptable and treatable cats were placed up for adoption and were paired with loving caretakers, including 258 cats adopted at an HSUS adoption event in Gainesville.

About the award for Galveston, Texas, Police Sgt. Joel Caldwell: Caldwell organized a Dec. 15, 2011 raid in Santa Fe, Texas, of a facility that was illegally breeding roosters for cockfighting. Police and HSUS staff, who provided the tip to local authorities, found more than 350 fighting roosters on the property; Caldwell charged the owner with two counts of felony cockfighting and one misdemeanor charge alleging he bred the birds with the intention to fight them—the first officer to use a just-enacted anti-cockfighting state law. Caldwell also helped to create a bigger animal services department for the county and brought together city, county and state animal protection officials for a forum to discuss improving animal welfare in the community.

About the award for Calhoun County, W.Va., Sheriff Carl Ballengee: In December 2010, Ballengee, who was, at the time, a chief deputy for the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department, discovered 19 neglected dogs behind a rural home in Arnoldsburg, W.Va. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the property owner had died, inadvertently leaving the dogs to starve and suffer in severely cold temperatures at what turned out to be a massive dogfighting organization. With no animal shelter in his county, Ballengee made pleas to numerous animal organizations and stayed with the dogs while providing food and care. After The HSUS helped rescue the animals, Ballengee continued to sniff out other dogfighters in his community, leading to the state’s first felony arrest for dogfighting.

About the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks award: In January 2012, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks seized three tigers, three cougars, two leopards, two wolf hybrids, and a Macaque monkey from Collins Zoo in Collins, Miss. The action came after a 2009 HSUS undercover investigation of the roadside zoo and legal petitions filed by HSUS. The agency worked with The HSUS for months on addressing the illegal display of dangerous animals, and arranging placement for animals they planned to seize. A few of the rescued animals now reside in permanent sanctuary at The HSUS’ Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas.

About the award for Operation Cyberwild, an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Department of Fish and Game; Prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office: In summer 2011, U.S. Fish and Wildlife special agents and a California Department of Fish and Game warden made undercover purchases of wildlife, including endangered species, being sold illegally over the Internet. Forty-six items were seized including an endangered tiger skin rug, a migratory bird mount, a live migratory bird, an elephant skin foot stool, a leopard skin and a bear skin. In an innovative, first-of-its kind partnership, six California-based volunteers from The HSUS assisted with the operation by producing some of the leads that enabled investigators to quickly make contact with sellers, saving significant time and agency resources for field investigations.

About the award for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli: Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has made a significant difference for the enforcement of animal protection laws in the Commonwealth. Since 2011, his office responded to more than 80 requests for assistance from Virginia animal control, law enforcement and commonwealth’s attorneys in animal cruelty and animal fighting cases. He is also helping to develop an animal cruelty and fighting curriculum with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys; participates on the animal cruelty committee of the National Association of Attorneys General; and committed resources to combat the illegal sale of wildlife, animal fighting and animal cruelty.

The Humane Society of the United States looks forward to future collaborations with law enforcement across the country. We are privileged to assist those who serve to make our communities safer, and together, we can help end the needless violence and neglect inflicted upon the creatures who share our world.

Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your Apple or Android device by searching for our “HumaneTV” app.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

(Aug. 24, 2012)—Whether choosing extracurricular activities, class projects or the latest fashion, students face many decisions at the beginning of the school year. Some of those choices may have an impact on animals, and The Humane Society of the United States has fun, school-friendly ideas to help students make this school year humane.

“Students are amazing advocates for animals,” said KC Theisen, director of pet care issues for The HSUS. “They have great enthusiasm and can share it in so many ways—food and supply drives for local shelters or rescues, education campaigns, even in class via papers and speeches. The possibilities are endless.”

Some ideas for making the 2012-2013 school year humane include:

Spread the word. The best way to make a change is by educating your classmates about the issues that matter to you. Use research projects, term papers and other assignments as opportunities to educate your classmates about important animal concerns. For the latest information and news about animal-related issues, visit our School Project Help page.

Younger students will enjoy Kind News magazine (humanesociety.org/kindnews), which is filled with colorful articles, short features, and fun activities that children and teachers love, emphasizing treating animals with kindness and respect. Home and classroom subscriptions are available and come in three reading levels: Primary Edition (grades K-2), Junior Edition (grades 3-4), and Senior Edition (grades 5-6).

Drive—even if you don’t have a license. Most organizations need blankets, toys and other supplies to care for their animals. Organize a drive to provide those supplies to your local shelter or rescue, or ask your classmates to donate their spare change to help animals in need. For more tips on how you can help your local shelter or rescue visit humanesociety.org/youthvolunteer.

Encourage your school cafeteria to make Mondays meat-free. Meatless meals are delicious and humane. Share this award-winning video about the growing Meatless Monday movement with your teachers and school administrators, and encourage your cafeteria to join in by only serving meat-free meals on Mondays http://youtu.be/tpziz8cJMaI.

Make compassion your fashion. Take a stand against cruelty and join our Fur-free Facebook page, reference our handy fur-free shopping guide, and wear a fur-free pin or tee to spread the word that compassionate fashion saves raccoon dogs, foxes, rabbits and other furbearers from needless suffering.

Put your education to work. Local animal organizations are often in need of people with talent in art, photography, computer programming and web design; offer to put the skills you are learning at school into practice for them. Helping animal shelters or rescues may be a good way to receive credit if your school requires public service hours for graduation. Contact your local animal welfare organization directly to find out more, or visit humanesociety.org/volunteer.

Get schooled in animal protection. Middle and high school students can enroll in free online courses at Humane Academy (humanesociety.org/humaneacademy). Course offerings include how to strengthen animal cruelty laws, how to speak up on behalf of animals to lawmakers and how to make engaging presentations. A new course launches fall 2012 to help students learn about dissection alternatives.

For more information and other ideas for students interested in speaking up for animals, visit humanesociety.org/students.

Comments delivered to USDA in support of regulating Internet puppy mills

(Aug. 15, 2012) – 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.

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.”

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — on the Web at humanesociety.org.

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

The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. On the web at hslf.org.

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.

Change.org is the world’s fastest-growing platform for social change — growing by one million new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.

Best Friends Animal Society, named Animal Welfare Non-Profit National Brand of the Year based on the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study, is a national animal welfare organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More HomelessPets®. The society's leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah headquarters, the country's largest no-kill sanctuary. This work is made possible by the personal and financial support of a grassroots network of supporters and community partners across the nation.

 

(Aug. 10, 2012)—Katie Lisnik, director of cat protection and policy for The Humane Society of the United States, issued the following statement in response to the cat predation study recently released by University of Georgia researcher Kerrie Anne Loyd:

“A recent study on cat predation, while well intentioned, does not greatly expand our overall understanding of the dynamics of the issue. Some outdoor cats do prey on wildlife, but their contribution to reductions in wildlife populations is hotly debated and not fully understood. The study tracks only 55 pet cats – of whom only 17 pursued prey, with birds constituting only 12 percent of the prey. We urge caution in the extrapolation of this study’s results to policy responses based on the limited findings, which have not been peer reviewed. This is a problem that requires cat and wildlife advocates to come together to find a solution."

The HSUS advocates for cats and wildlife, and urges pet owners to keep cats indoors. Community cats living outdoors must be managed in a way that effectively and humanely reduces their numbers through trap-neuter-return (TNR), the proven approach of safely removing the cats, spaying or neutering them and returning them to a managed colony. By using TNR responsibly and finding homes for kittens and adoptable cats, this strategy can help reduce reproduction while improving the lives of existing ferals.

Facts:

  • From 1998 through 2010 the American Pet Products Association showed increases in the number of owned cats kept indoors exclusively or kept indoors for longer periods of time.
  • Pet cats should be kept indoors for their own safety, and for the safety of wildlife in the area. They should be sterilized by the time they reach reproductive age at 5 months. The HSUS offers more information about making indoor homes stimulating and enriching for cats.
  • Estimates from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department show that bird mortality is largely caused by habitat loss and destruction (33.3 percent) and collisions with buildings and glass (31.7 percent). While cats do prey on birds, their impact plays a relatively minor role in overall bird mortality.
  • The "KittyCam"study also documented cats engaging in risky behaviors such as crossing roads, entering tight spaces and eating and drinking potential hazardous substances; all are further reasons to keep cats safe inside homes.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.



(Aug. 10, 2012)—In response to reports of a possible increase in thefts of pets nationwide, The Humane Society of the United States reminds pet owners that there are simple steps you can take to keep your pets safe.

“The Humane Society of the United States urges pet owners to be aware of where the animals are at all times,” said Inga Fricke, director of sheltering and pet care issues for The HSUS. “Losing a pet is a devastating experience and we urge people to take these extra precautions to ensure the safety of their pets.”

  • Never leave your pet outdoors unattended. Your pet should be safely indoors at all times, and should always be within your sight or earshot when outdoors.
  • When outdoors, your dog should be in a securely fenced yard. Pets who normally stay near home can become frightened, or enticed to leave by an interesting sight or smell, and may not be able to find their way home – they may not be technically stolen, but are gone nevertheless.
  • Always check to ensure that fence gates are securely closed before allowing your dog outdoors, and regularly check for holes in or under the fencing that a dog could slip through.
  • Never leave your pet tied outside a store or alone in a car, even if you will be inside for just a minute. A well-meaning individual may actually believe your pet has been abandoned, and take her away in an attempt to ensure her safety.
  • Make sure your pet is wearing a collar and ID tag with your current contact information included. It is a good idea to microchip your pet, and put the tag that identifies the microchip company and ID number on her collar.
  • Build a pet-friendly network of neighbors who can monitor suspicious activity in your neighborhood and intervene if they see your pet walking with a stranger.
  • Report a missing pet immediately to police and animal control authorities, and mobilize your neighborhood to help search for her.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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