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.
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.
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