Advocates step up the fight against puppy mills in localities, states across the nation

By on February 19, 2019 with 0 Comments

On a recent cold and rainy Friday, Victoria, a striking 11-year-old German Shepherd, sat in a wagon, draped in a purple blanket, outside the steps of the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Victoria’s story was a telling one: she was a puppy mill breeding dog who spent nearly a decade of her life producing puppies non-stop before she was rescued last year by Grace Kelly Herbert. She suffers from a crippling congenital condition called Degenerative Myelopathy and can no longer walk. The puppy miller who bred her effectively passed on the same condition, which has no cure, to hundreds of her puppies by continuing to mercilessly and recklessly breed Victoria again and again.

Victoria, Grace and the dozens of people who gathered at the courthouse that Friday, all dressed in purple or wearing purple ribbons, are now fighting to pass Victoria’s Law, a bill that would make Pennsylvania the third state in the country to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores. (Maryland and California have already enacted this policy, and similar bills are being considered in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Oregon, Connecticut and Washington). Last week, our Puppy Mills Campaign honored this intrepid pair with the annual Advocates We Love award, given out each year on Valentine’s Day to 14 people around the country who are making a real difference in ending the cruelty of puppy mills.

After rescuing and adopting Victoria, Grace, who is also the co-founder of Finding Shelter Animal Rescue, has been working tirelessly, first, to persuade lawmakers to introduce Victoria’s Law, SB 44, and second, to get the law passed in this, a state with one of the worst records on puppy mills. These commercial breeding facilities offer the animals in their care no love, compassion or even the most basic needs. Dogs like Victoria are bred continually and when their time is up, they most often end up abandoned or are put down.

The other award winners are just as motivated in their commitment to stopping puppy mills.

  • Carla and Bryan Wilson of Winter Springs, Florida, helped pass ordinances that prohibit the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in pet stores; they were also key players in the “Yes on 13” campaign to end greyhound racing in Florida.
  • Clarissa Uttley of Thornton, New Hampshire, and Renee Sundberg of Columbus, Ohio, devoted many weeks to helping the HSUS’s Animal Rescue Team take care of dogs that we rescued from large scale commercial breeders.
  • Laurie Newton of Westminster, Maryland, worked to help pass a statewide ban on the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores in Maryland.
  • Ashley Tucker Cunnyngham of Franklin, Tennessee, led the fight to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores in her city last year and succeeded despite a vigorous lobbying campaign mounted by the American Kennel Club and a local pet store.
  • Kara Moran of Virginia Beach and her group, Virginia Pawsitivaty, helped pass two Virginia state bills in 2018 related to puppy mills and pet stores as well as local ordinances in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach to require inspections of pet shops and establish permitting policies to enable the local government to close problem pet shops.

You can find the full list of our 14 award winners at the Advocates We Love Facebook album. Please join me in congratulating these amazing people who are making a real difference for animals in their communities. And to learn more about how you can be an advocate to end puppy mill abuse, check out our Advocate’s Guide to Stopping Puppy Mills.

Happy Tails from Valentine’s Day at the HSUS and HSI

By on February 15, 2019 with 3 Comments
Happy Tails from Valentine’s Day at the HSUS and HSI

Who doesn’t love a good Valentine’s Day tale, especially one involving dog rescue? We celebrated several such “tails” this last week, all tied to our global campaign to end the dog meat trade. In the first instance, Humane Society International responders deployed to a dog . . . 

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Fish and Wildlife Service fails in its mission to protect critically endangered species

By on February 14, 2019 with 8 Comments
Fish and Wildlife Service fails in its mission to protect critically endangered species

The other day, the Washington Post’s Pam Constable published a story about a wealthy American hunter who paid $110,000 for the right to kill a rare and magnificent mountain goat in Pakistan. There are just several thousand markhors alive, so it’s hard to see how . . . 

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Tiger found in an abandoned Houston home underscores dire need for state and federal legislation

By on February 13, 2019 with 2 Comments
Tiger found in an abandoned Houston home underscores dire need for state and federal legislation

When it comes to the private ownership of captive tigers in the United States, you just can’t make this stuff up. Through the years, we’ve seen reports of tigers kept in apartments, tigers in garages, tigers in gas stations, tigers in tattoo parlors, tigers in . . . 

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Zimbabwe rips 35 baby elephants from their mothers for export to Chinese zoos

By on February 12, 2019 with 28 Comments
Zimbabwe rips 35 baby elephants from their mothers for export to Chinese zoos

It is the worst kind of wildlife abuse, and it is happening right now – again – in Zimbabwe, where 35 baby elephants have been torn away from their mothers in the wild and are awaiting export to zoos in China. According to The Times . . . 

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From vaccines and spay/neuter to puppies stuck in tar, HSI helps hundreds of thousands of street dogs

By on February 11, 2019 with 1 Comment
From vaccines and spay/neuter to puppies stuck in tar, HSI helps hundreds of thousands of street dogs

In January, our Humane Society International/India team learned about eight puppies who were stuck in tar in the town of Tirur in the south Indian state of Kerala. The puppies, as you can see in the video below, were completely covered in the sticky black . . . 

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At South Florida Wildlife Center, staff rehabilitate pelicans, other wildlife hurt and orphaned by human actions

By on February 8, 2019 with 1 Comment
At South Florida Wildlife Center, staff rehabilitate pelicans, other wildlife hurt and orphaned by human actions

I was at the South Florida Wildlife Center yesterday when workers there released six pelicans back into the wild. The birds, who can be found wintering in South Florida this time of year, had all been brought in last month with injuries that need never . . . 

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Bill in Congress will require puppy mills, roadside zoos and other businesses to have emergency plans to protect animals during disasters

By on February 7, 2019 with 3 Comments
Bill in Congress will require puppy mills, roadside zoos and other businesses to have emergency plans to protect animals during disasters

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson Weather-related disasters such as floods and wildfires are occurring more frequently and with increasing intensity across the United States. While there is a federal law that requires state and local authorities to consider household pets and service animals in . . . 

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At HSUS Faith Summit, religious leaders and family farmers discuss animal stewardship

By on February 7, 2019 with 0 Comments
At HSUS Faith Summit, religious leaders and family farmers discuss animal stewardship

The Humane Society of the United States’ Faith Outreach program partners with people of faith to fight animal cruelty and highlight the long and rich tradition of compassion for animals within the world’s major religions. This week, as part of this important program, we welcomed . . . 

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Bipartisan bill in Congress will crack down on puppy mill cruelty

By on February 6, 2019 with 13 Comments
Bipartisan bill in Congress will crack down on puppy mill cruelty

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson A bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives today introduced a bill to crack down on puppy mill cruelty by closing loopholes in the law that allow problem breeders with severe and multiple Animal Welfare Act violations to continue doing business . . . 

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The state of the animal union under the Trump administration

By on February 5, 2019 with 8 Comments
The state of the animal union under the Trump administration

By Kitty Block and Sara Amundson As President Donald Trump prepares to deliver his State of the Union address today, it’s a good time to take stock of how his administration has dealt with animal protection issues of interest to us at the Humane Society . . . 

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Pets pour in for round 3 of Spayathon for Puerto Rico

By on February 4, 2019 with 6 Comments
Pets pour in for round 3 of Spayathon for Puerto Rico

I am participating in round 3 of Spayathon™ for Puerto Rico, an initiative launched to change the landscape for animals of the island by providing high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter services to the pets here, all at no cost to their owners, caregivers and guardians. The energy . . . 

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