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12 posts from HSUS Adoption Stories

March 27, 2014

Something is Rotten in Denmark

Take a look at two contrasting institutional responses to challenging circumstances with animals, which together give a clear measure of diametrically opposed value systems – one merciful, and the other ruthless.

One of the dogs from Arkansas after arrival, ready to go to a placement partner so that he can find a home.

Yesterday, our HSUS staff greeted at our headquarters outside of Washington more than 55 dogs and an assortment of other creatures that our Animal Rescue Team rescued a month ago from a Jefferson County, Arkansas puppy mill. The dogs were living in filth and squalor, and they had a wide range of problems, including one dog who had lost the use of his lower jaw. We’ve been working hard over the last month to improve the health of these dogs, and yesterday, we handed them over to several of our Emergency Placement Partners after a 700-mile journey in one of our big rigs, for more tender care and then adoption in the weeks ahead. 

Then take a look at Act II at the notorious Copenhagen Denmark Zoo. Act I, involving the killing of a perfectly healthy 18-month giraffe named Marius, provoked widespread global outrage and condemnation not too long ago. The zoo said that it already had sufficient genetic diversity given the captive population of giraffes within European zoos and so officials there decided Marius was expendable - and should be killed. They did kill him and fed him to the lions.

It was not as if they loved the lions so much that they had to feed the big cats fresh meat. Two days ago, this same zoo announced it had killed four lions, including two cubs. Again, officials said they already had enough genetic diversity among captive lions, so these lions were expendable, too. What’s more, they were bringing in a new male lion and worried he’d kill the cubs.

A lion cub in the wild. Photo by Alamy

“If the Zoo had not made the change in the pride now then we would have risked that the old male would mate with these two females - his own offspring - and thereby give rise to inbreeding,” said a statement from Copenhagen Zoo officials.

Apparently, the memos on the option of sterilizing the big cat, or the other cats in the pride, never made it to them.

When you think of animals as individual beings, with their own lives, you rescue them from crisis and then find a way to give them a good quality of life, as we did with the Arkansas animals. If you treat animals like a bunch of ambulatory exhibits or repositories of DNA, then you have the outcome that played out in Denmark. Sadly this outcome is all too routine in many of the zoos of Europe.

The World Associations of Zoos and Aquariums and other professionals in this field must condemn these unacceptable actions in the zoo community and remind officials like those at the Copenhagen Zoo that individual animals matter. 

December 03, 2013

Ricky Bobby: Racing Star, Puppy Mill Ambassador

In 2010, The HSUS led a coalition supporting a winning ballot measure in Missouri to crack down on puppy mills. We launched that initiative because Missouri had long been the top puppy mill state in the nation, with as many as 3,000 large-scale commercial dog-breeding operations. The legislature and farm groups outrageously worked to weaken the core provisions of the ballot measure right after voters approved it. But the initiative still resulted in as many as 600 mills shutting down or otherwise ceasing operation, since they couldn’t even meet the basic standards called for under the new law.

The other major puppy mill states border Missouri – Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and Arkansas – and we’ve also been working hard in those states to create at least some minimal standards as well.

Given this emphasis, it’s been amazing that North Carolina, far from the Midwest and the heart of the industry, has been the stage for the largest number of puppy mills raids we’ve conducted with law enforcement – 15 in the last two years.

Today, we released a video about one dog we rescued in North Carolina who has a new, better life since The HSUS’ Animal Rescue Team members, Jennifer Kulina-Lanese and Tia Pope, and North Carolina state director Kim Alboum, took him into their arms.

Ricky Bobby
Meredith Lee/The HSUS
Ricky Bobby (or "RB") was rescued from a North Carolina
puppy mill in February 2013.

At a mass dog-breeding facility in Magnolia, N.C., on a day when rain was pouring down, the team (including members from two local animal welfare groups) arrived on the scene with the sheriff’s office to serve a warrant. They found a variety of small-breed dogs suffering from severe, untreated medical conditions, including dental disease, infection, tumors, eye issues and malnourishment. Some of the animals experienced such severe dental disease that their jaws had rotted away, and one dog’s severe eye issues required the removal of one of her eyes to end the suffering she experienced.

Many dogs were underweight and sick as a result of their dental disease: they could not chew or swallow hard food, so they would have to wait until the food had become soft and rancid to be able to eat it. The owner agreed to surrender 58 of the dogs on the property, and eight of the worst cases were transferred for immediate care at an animal hospital nearby.

Jennifer removed Ricky Bobby, a small, paralyzed dachshund, from the facility. When she picked him up, he was terrified and shaking. Ricky Bobby was among the dogs who required immediate treatment. He had been dragging his non-working legs along a cement floor for so long that he had open sores, inflamed patches, callouses and muscle atrophy throughout his underside and back legs. His hindquarters were covered in urine scalding from being confined to bedding soaked in urine and feces. The condition that paralyzed Ricky Bobby was most likely genetic, but if treated by a veterinarian early, is often reversible.

Ricky Bobby was adopted by Megan, a veterinary technician from CareFirst, the veterinary hospital where he was treated. Before she had even decided to adopt Ricky Bobby, Megan (who calls him RB for short) set to making a wheeled cart to enable RB to get around without hurting his underside. Cobbling together PVC pipe, wheels from a larger cart that didn’t fit him, hair ties, a standard small pet harness, and a make-shift sling, Megan gave RB mobility he’d likely never had.

Give animals like Ricky Bobby a second chance. Become a Humane Hero today >>

RB accompanies Megan to work, where he spends his days with another dog, Stella, who was rescued from the same facility and adopted by another kind CareFirst staffer. At home, RB finds comfort in his big brother Tucker, a gentle yellow Labrador. Everywhere Megan and RB go, they act as ambassadors for the puppy mill issue, telling RB’s story to interested passersby and explaining the need for more strict laws governing commercial dog breeders.

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers when it comes to puppy mills – 2 million plus dogs churned out every year, 15 raids in North Carolina, and 3,000 mills just in Missouri with 600 shuttered in that state alone since Prop B passed. But RB reminds us that it’s all about individual creatures, and how your support allows us to turn around their lives and gives them a new beginning.

Watch Ricky Bobby's video:


P.S. Yesterday, after we announced that Kohl's is selling real rabbit fur accessories advertised as "faux," many of you responded with action and calls. Now Kohl's appears to be switching its customer service numbers and webpages frequently. We suspect this is due to the volume of calls received. Help us keep the pressure on! Click here to look up the most recent customer service phone number »

After making your phone call (please do not skip that crucial step!), submit an email to Kohl's and ask them to adopt a fur-free policy ». Check my Facebook page for updates in the coming days.

October 24, 2013

No Rest for the Whiskered

Most people go out and find a dog when they want to bring one into their life. Cats, on the other hand, typically find their new keepers.

Zoe relaxes in a rare moment of

Lisa and I got a dog from a rescue group three months ago – very intentionally. And now by happenstance, we also have a new cat in our lives.

Zoe, our new cat – of uncertain age but certain beauty – found me when I was out walking Lily, our rescue dog, on an early morning jaunt.

I wasn’t expecting to see many people out at 5:30 a.m. I thought I might see a few rats in the alleys, but no dogs on a walk quite that early.

It turned out that a dazzling-looking cat was walking behind a pedestrian, and keeping pace with him. I’ve seen a lot of unusual relationships that people have with animals and I figured this was one of those – a guy with his cat off-leash on a walk.

But when I circled back, a very nice young woman, who was out for a jog, was trying to coax the kitty to come to her. The pedestrian I saw earlier was nowhere to be found, and it was clear that this cat, at least for the moment, was on her own. It didn’t take much coaxing, and the cat was in the jogger’s arms.

Zoe and Lily
Zoe and Lily have become fast friends.

I made a lifeline call to Lisa for a cat carrier. She responded with groggy eyes and one of our carriers, which we quickly filled with the kitty.

Later that morning a local vet scanned the kitty and discovered she had a microchip - but it was unregistered. The vet clinic posted flyers. We posted her on several websites and called her in to the Washington Humane lost pet hotline, but nobody claimed her.

So now there is a hilarious cat who seems to never sleep, bounding and racing around the apartment.

Lily occasionally plays hide and seek with the cat, and they are known, once in a while, to rest side by side. She greets me at the door each evening and tries to sneak out to explore the hallway. During the middle of the night, she pounces on me. It’s not a soothing effect.

So everyone, say hello to Zoe. And if you can, please talk some sense into her. I need to sleep.

June 24, 2013

The Beagle Has Landed

There’s a dog in my office, and she’s not a foster pet or a visitor. I adopted her on Saturday, and now she’s a cling-on. And Lisa and I are very happy about it.

At a fire hydrant in Middleburg
Spying a potential opportunity at a fire hydrant in
Middleburg, Virginia.

She’s a Beagle mix, and came from a shelter in rural Virginia. She may have been a discarded hunting dog, since rural Virginia shelters are full of them. Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation, based in northern Virginia, pulled her from the shelter, and after spaying and vaccinating her, put her up for adoption at an event at the Fairfax PetSmart on Saturday. This was her ninth adoption event, and somehow she’d been passed over on these prior occasions. It was our good fortune, but I’m still mystified that no one scooped her up before. She’s got such a gentle disposition, and is pretty as a picture.

She’s now splayed out on her doggie bed right behind me in my downtown D.C. office. She’s probably about six years old, and her “maturity” cinched the deal for us. We wanted to get an older dog, since they are tougher to place.

It’s been some weeks since our precious cat Mungo passed on. Her sister died about a year ago, so the apartment has been feeling empty and we’ve been missing them terribly. It was time again to populate our home with another little being to fill the void that every one of you who has kept pets knows all too well.

Lost Dog and so many other rescue groups are doing such great life-saving work. They are typically pulling animals from shelters, and then getting out into the community to encourage people to get a companion and save a life – a double bottom-line benefit. The cooperation between shelters and rescue groups, and the movement of animals between them, is part of any successful plan to eliminate unneeded euthanasia.

Relaxing at the new crib
Relaxing at the new crib.
See the full photo album here.

According to our survey work with Maddie’s Fund and The Ad Council, there are about 17 million people in the market for companion animals this year. Only about a quarter of them will get a dog or cat from a rescue or shelter. If just an additional two or three million of them went to an adoption event hosted by PetSmart or Petco, logged on to, or went directly to a shelter or rescue group to adopt a homeless dog or cat – an easy choice, since there’s an abundance of great, well-socialized, vaccinated, sterilized animals at these sources – we’d have the national problem of euthanasia of healthy and treatable animals licked. Local organizations could spend more time on the wider range of animal protection issues, and not be bogged down, as they’ve been for a century, with the plight of homeless animals. In short, just a small percentage of people who want an animal in their life can make an intentional choice and help us get to the finish line.

This little one doesn’t have a name yet. If you have suggestions, we’re all ears. And she’s all ears, too, as you can see. We’ve got to get the name settled by midnight tonight, as a practical matter for her and for her proud pet parents.

June 12, 2013

Miracle Horse Returns Favor

Two years ago, I wrote about a foal named “Moonstruck,” a colt who survived against all odds. While pregnant with Moonstruck, his mother, Catori, was crammed aboard a cattle trailer, bound for slaughter in Mexico, when the driver fell asleep at the wheel. The truck careened off the road. The grisly accident left only 17 of the 30 horses on board alive.

Catori was one of the survivors.

When our Oklahoma state director Cynthia Armstrong found out that the 17 surviving horses were again slated for slaughter, she worked with Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue and a few generous HSUS donors to secure safe haven for the horses. It was only then that it was discovered that Catori was pregnant. Ten months later, during the 2011 spring equinox – when the moon was closer to the earth than it had been in more than 20 years – Catori gave birth to a healthy, rambunctious foal. This miracle foal, born under the "supermoon," was appropriately named “Moonstruck.”

Moonstruck and Catori settled into their new life at Blaze’s Tribute, hopefully leaving behind a life of tragedy and danger. Their peace was short-lived, however. Just two months later, a major tornado hit Oklahoma and Blaze’s Tribute farm was destroyed. Miraculously, three of the 21 horses on the property survived: a blind horse named Fiona, Catori, and Moonstruck.

Moonstruck and Twister hanging out
Desiree Fees Walling
Twister and Moonstruck are now inseparable.

Once again, Catori and Moonstruck had beaten the odds.

In May, two F5 tornadoes, including one purported to be the largest tornado in recorded history, swept through Oklahoma, destroying nearly everything in their path. Out of the rubble emerged a two-day-old filly named “Twister.” Twister's mother was killed in the tornado. Work began immediately to find a surrogate mother to care for the little foal. Several horses were evaluated, but Twister totally disregarded them.

Twister was then introduced to Moonstruck, now two-years-old, and the two became fast friends. They shared a connection, a legacy of near-death and amazing survival that connected them in a way that touches us profoundly. It was as if Moonstruck was returning a favor, caring for a foal that had a story of survival not unlike his own.

There are times when the debate about horse slaughter can seem abstract or distant or impersonal. Moonstruck’s story of tragedy, survival and friendship reminds us of the personalities, the unique characteristics, and the will to live that all animals have.

This week, New Mexico’s Attorney General Gary King shut the door on horse slaughter in New Mexico. And on Thursday, the Committee on Appropriations of the U.S. House of Representatives is set to take up an anti-horse slaughter amendment. We hope that all the lawmakers understand what and who is at risk in deciding the fate of horses we’ve brought into this world and who we have a responsibility to protect.

March 04, 2013

Past Due to Deal with Puppy Mills Selling Over Internet

I’ve published a number of moving rescue stories on this blog, including last week’s account of our North Carolina puppy mill rescue of 58 dogs, who were in terrible shape. But I want to leaven the images of suffering dogs by featuring a few dogs on the mend and in a much better place. Take the case of Isabelle, a black Labrador we rescued from a Vermont puppy mill a few years ago, along with 60 of her friends. The older nursing mom was skin and bones, yet she was patiently nursing 11 small puppies. The “post-rescue” photo of a robust and smiling Isabelle, that her adopter sent us just months after her rescue, shows that her poor condition had been due not to her age, but to neglect. It shows how our work can be life-changing.

Kathleen Summers/The HSUS and Pamela Krausz
Before and after photo of Isabelle from when she was
rescued and then just months after being adopted.

These incidents of animal cruelty recur because of a gap in the law. Isabelle’s breeder, and the breeder raided last week in North Carolina, were selling puppies via Internet and newspaper classified ads. Since the breeders weren’t selling puppies to middlemen or pet stores, they were able to take advantage of a “retail sales” loophole in the federal Animal Welfare Act, evading the basic oversight required in the regulations.

Last week, Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. and David Vitter, R-La., along with Reps. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., Sam Farr, D-Calif., Bill Young, R-Fla., and Lois Capps, D-Calif., reintroduced the PUPS Act, S. 395 and H.R. 847, to close that loophole, requiring direct sellers of 50 or more puppies to be federally licensed and inspected for basic humane standards of care. The PUPS Act would also require that licensed facilities let dogs out of their cages for at least an hour a day – a bare minimum requirement if dogs are to be healthy and happy.

We’ve been keeping track of puppy mills licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, watching their numbers decline almost 40 percent since 2007. While some of that decline can be attributed to operators who were shut down due to stronger enforcement, we fear that many others are simply dropping their federal licenses in order to convert to online sales and avoid regulation altogether. The PUPS Act will keep bad breeders from slipping under the radar – and help thousands of mother dogs like Isabelle.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has an administrative rule pending to close this loophole and bring these sellers under the authority of the USDA. We need them to finalize that rule now – it got tremendous public support, with nearly 350,000 signatures and comments, and has been under consideration for plenty of time. We must deliver oversight and bring these dogs relief. It cannot happen soon enough. Please urge congress to pass the PUPS Act, and close this loophole once and for all.

January 16, 2013

A Tribute To Billy

Billy, the endearing puppy mill Chihuahua who touched hundreds of thousands of people when he appeared in a YouTube video with his rescuer and new caretaker Adam Parascandola, died peacefully but unexpectedly over the holidays. More than 600,000 people watched our YouTube video, released months after The HSUS’ Animal Rescue Team took him from a mill in North Carolina, where lawmakers have resisted imposing any state-based humane breeding standards. HLN’s Jane Valez Mitchell featured Billy and Adam on her show just weeks ago.

Like so many breeding animals confined for years at puppy mills, Billy had many chronic health conditions. He was scarred both physically and psychologically as a consequence of living in a cage for years, denied veterinary care or any meaningful human attention or affection. When I met Billy a few weeks ago at an event at the Washington Animal Rescue League, I saw a bundle of joy, but with obvious problems – most noticeably, his repetitive circling (dozens of times) before he would urinate or defecate. A portion of his lower jaw was missing due to years of chronic untreated periodontal disease, and he had other ailments. Our rescue team, and Adam specifically, provided him with the best vet care and endless doses of affection, but he succumbed despite those acts of kindness.

At this point, he becomes something of a timeless ambassador for what happens to dogs in puppy mills, memorialized in the video that features him. At the same time, his own happy spirit, despite his travails, reminds us of the capacity of animals to forgive and to love. We, as a species, can learn more than a thing or two from Billy about putting those principles into action.

Please watch Billy’s tribute video and learn more about how The HSUS will continue the fight to stop puppy mills in Billy’s name. Thanks for all you do to help us rescue animals like Billy.

December 06, 2012

Internet Star Turn for Billy, Rescued Puppy Mill Chihuahua

With increasing frequency, the amazing work of the Humane Society of the United States videographers goes viral, and today it is a video about Billy, a rescued puppy mill dog from North Carolina adopted by Adam Parascandola, the director of animal cruelty investigations. The video is at nearly 200,000 views and counting on our HSUS YouTube channel, and has been featured on websites such as, Jezebel and Jane Velez-Mitchell.

In many respects, Billy’s story is not so unique – The HSUS Billy2estimates that upwards of 2 million puppies are sold from puppy mills every year. But it is unique to have one dog’s plight tell the story of puppy mills so poignantly and compellingly to the American public. 

We are working hard to turn around the problem of puppy mills in our nation. These mills are inhumane to dogs, subvert adoption efforts by shelters and rescues, and cause hardship and grief for animal owners, who often buy dogs at exorbitant prices who are ill or saddled with genetic or hereditary problems. 

I could speak about what this video means to me, but watch it yourself, and see Billy’s inspiring story of resilience.

Be sure to catch a live stream event with Adam and Billy at 1 p.m. EST, Friday December 7, here.

P.S. Have a question for Adam, or want a reminder to tune in? Text BILLYCAM to 30644

December 20, 2011

How Doris Went from Neglect to a Loving Family

We estimate that there are 20,000 animal protection organizations in the country—offering care, services, or advocacy for just about every kind of animal out there. It’s a remarkable army of staff and volunteers seeking to help animals in crisis and call people to a higher level of responsibility in their dealings with other creatures. And no matter what the focus of any particular individual or group, we are all part of the same fundamental enterprise.

Doris with her new family
Doris with her new family
photo: Jacques Favre/The HSUS

While there are perhaps 600 horse sanctuaries and rescue organizations throughout the nation, there are very few groups working at the national level to protect horses and to prevent cruelty to them. That’s why we formed an Equine Protection department at The HSUS several years ago. To add to it, we have just formed an Equine Leadership Council, with Georgina Bloomberg as chair. We are taking on the issues of horse slaughter for human consumption, the soring of Tennessee Walking horses, the mismanagement of wild horses and burros, and a range of other equine welfare problems.

But we also do anti-cruelty work on the ground for horses. It’s been just a little more than a year since The HSUS joined with law enforcement and local groups to rescue 43 severely neglected horses in East Texas. It was a heartbreaking scene—many of the animals were seriously underweight with overgrown hooves and parasite infestations, and it was too late to save some animals.

Then this spring, I told you how well these horses were recovering after several months of food, water, and care, and that we were continuing to care for five of them at our new Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center, in Murchison, Texas. One palomino horse who had been nearly skin and bones was among these five. She had begun to fill out and her coat had regained its shine after a few months, but she still needed training and one-on-one attention to fully recover.

We named her Doris, after the tireless animal advocate and the center’s namesake, and when she was ready, we began looking for her permanent home. A family with children who adore her adopted Doris a few months ago. Now you can see her journey in our latest year-end video. Please take a look and if you can, support our work to rescue more animals like Doris who still need our help.

December 19, 2011

Ten Accomplishments for Pets in 2011

While deeply valuing the essential work of local animal-care organizations, The HSUS’s founders saw that the nation needed an organization that had the power to fight for all animals—one that could change the dynamics of animal protection and strike at the root causes of cruelty. That was their main reason for founding The HSUS.

Today, we live up to that credo by challenging the biggest forms of institutionalized cruelty, whether it’s seal clubbing, organized animal fighting, factory farming, puppy mills, the trade in dangerous exotics as pets, unnecessary and painful experimentation, or captive hunts.

But our largest broad programmatic focus has always been helping companion animals, as well as the people who care about them.  It’s our relationship with our pets that is the keenest expression of the human-animal bond in society.

The HSUS and its affiliates protect dogs, cats, and other pets every day of the year, through education, rescue, veterinary services, support to local shelters; by backing better public policies concerning puppy mills, dogfighting, and animal cruelty; and by promoting improved animal care and control throughout the United States and abroad.

It’s tough to boil it down, but here are 10 areas where we made big progress for pets in 2011.

shelter dog
Laura Bevan/The HSUS

The Shelter Pet Project changes the landscape of adoption

The Shelter Pet Project—a collaboration of The HSUS, the Ad Council, and Maddie’s Fund—released a new collection of game-changing TV, print, radio, online, and outdoor ads to promote adoption of shelter pets nationwide and to reduce the euthanasia of healthy animals. The ad campaign has generated $50 million in advertising since its launch in 2009, and is expected to generate an additional $50 million in future advertising. During the same period, the euthanasia of shelter pets has declined by 10 percent, and in two years, the percentage of pets adopted from animal shelters and rescue groups into loving homes has risen from 27 percent to 29 percent, with the number of healthy and treatable pets euthanized dropping from 3 million to 2.7 million.

48,000 dogs and cats spayed and neutered in 700 Spay Day events worldwide

The 17th annual Spay Day, organized by The HSUS and Humane Society International, sparked nearly 700 events worldwide to spay or neuter more than 48,000 dogs and cats. Our Spay Day online pet photo contest raised nearly $220,000 to benefit participating shelters and rescue groups.

Free veterinary care for thousands of pets in community clinics

The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association’s Rural Area Veterinary Services program provided free vaccinations, sterilizations, check-ups, and other high quality preventative health care to 9,300 animals in 42 communities in the U.S. and around the world in 2011.

Bhutan spay/neuter initiative reaches 30,000 mark

Three years into a five-year program, Humane Society International has sterilized 30,000 of a targeted 50,000 street dogs in the Himalayan nation of Bhutan. HSI is providing similar services for thousands of animals at risk in India, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, the Philippines, Haiti, and other nations.

The HSUS saves thousands of dogs from squalid puppy mills and cruel dogfighting operations

This past year, The HSUS rescued and cared for hundreds of dogs from puppy mills in Montana, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Vermont. Humane Society International saved more than 500 dogs from poor conditions at a commercial breeder in Quebec and cared for them for months at an emergency shelter. We also helped care for close to 200 dogs from Missouri puppy mills.   We worked with law enforcement to raid dozens of dogfighting operations and rescue dogs, including Honey and so many others injured or destined to die in the pit. In North Carolina, we worked with law enforcement to raid two properties in one day as well as assisting on raids in Indiana, Florida and West Virginia, rescuing more than one hundred dogs.

The HSUS pushes a pet protection agenda in Congress and in the states

The HSUS pursued a full agenda of pet protection at the federal level, helping to obtain an increase of $5 million in annual funding for Animal Welfare Act enforcement efforts (pet breeders make up the largest share of regulated entities under the AWA), and this was in addition to $4 million specifically designated to strengthen oversight of puppy mills in FY 2011. The HSUS supported four companion animal-focused federal bills:  H.R. 2492/S. 1947, the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act, to prohibit knowing attendance at organized dog fights and cock fights, and impose additional penalties for causing a minor to attend such events; H.R. 835, the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act, to close a loophole in the Animal Welfare Act that allows large, commercial breeders who sell puppies online or directly to the public to escape licensing and regulation; H.R. 2256, the Pet Safety and Protection Act of 2011, to eliminate Class B animal dealers who round up dogs and cats—often fraudulently obtained, including pet theft—and sell them for experimentation; and H.R. 198/S. 1838, to create a pilot program for training dogs, including shelter dogs, as a form of therapy to help treat veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and other post-deployment  mental health conditions. The HSUS helped to secure 68 new state laws relating to dogs and/or cats, including measures relating to dogfighting, puppy mills, antifreeze poisoning, spaying and neutering, and domestic violence orders.

The HSUS packs a purebred punch

In April, The HSUS drew together behaviorists, dog breeders, epidemiologists, geneticists, and veterinarians for a landmark conference on unhealthy breeding practices that affect millions of dogs. “The Purebred Paradox” brought needed focus to genetic and health conditions related to inbreeding, a serious animal welfare issue that has frequently surfaced in debates over puppy mill regulation, irresponsible breeders, and lemon law initiatives focusing on the pet trade. A cover story, “Can the Bulldog Be Saved?," in The New York Times Magazine, struck another blow in the fight to expose reckless breeding’s harmful effects, and a December investigation by The HSUS exposed an Internet puppy mill sales operation now the subject of a class action lawsuit for misleading the public about the origins and health of the puppies it sells.

"Puppy Friendly Pet Stores" program surpasses 1,600

There is now not a single state in the country (including Washington, D.C.) where you can't find a store that has signed The HSUS's Puppy Friendly Pet Store Pledge. To date, 1,615 stores have committed not to sell puppies, but instead support local pet adoption programs.

$200,000 veterinary school grant supports underserved shelters in Gulf Coast

The HSUS made a $200,000 grant to support the shelter medicine program at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. The program helps under-resourced animal care and control entities throughout Louisiana with direct care and counsel. To date, we’ve provided $800,000 in support to the school—part of more than $30 million The HSUS has invested in the Gulf Coast and disaster response since Hurricane Katrina struck.  We donated millions more to other organizations in the region working to protect companion animals – from local shelters to anti-puppy mill groups to legislative advocacy coalitions.

The HSUS carries out one of the largest cat rescues on record

In June, our Animal Rescue Team joined Alachua County Animal Services to rescue nearly 700 cats from deplorable conditions in Florida. Caring for them for several months at our emergency shelter, we helped find homes for more than 250 cats at a huge adoption event, and eventually found placement for every single treatable, adoptable cat—as well as feral cats—with a shelter or rescue group. We also rescued thousands of cats and dogs from hoarding or neglect in Alabama, Arizona, California, and other states.

Learn more about how we help pets»