“No Animals Were Harmed®” Program March 2015 Update

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“No Animals Were Harmed®” Program March 2015 Update

Kwane Stewart, DVM
Chief Veterinary Officer & National Director
“No Animals Were Harmed®” program
Fellow animal and movie lovers, here’s a monthly update from myself and our famed, “No Animals Were Harmed®” program. Continue reading

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Cold Nose, Warm Heart: Butler Goes to Boston

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This Valentine’s Day, Butler, the Weather Channel Therapy Dog and American Humane Association spokesdog, and I deployed to Boston in advance of Winter Storm Neptune. Boston had experienced a three-week snow siege, accumulating a record-setting 80 inches of snowfall and Winter Storm Neptune was forecasted to bring another 16 inches.

Butler’s mission was to give respite to snow-weary and stressed Bostonians dealing with repeated school closures, closed metro services and growing piles of snow. His first stop was the Boston Fire Department where visited the dedicated firemen who had been working around the clock shoveling snow in order to keep the city’s over 13,000 fire hydrants accessible.

Despite the cold, Butler put smiles on the faces of many Bostonians as they prepared for the next onslaught of snow. He visited stranded visitors, city workers who were clearing sidewalks and many locals who needed a break from shoveling, plowing and ice chiseling. When Butler wasn’t providing comfort to community members, he was providing laughs and love to Weather Channel meteorologists and crews working long hours to bring vital, severe weather information to impacted areas.

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Dogfighting Ring Raided: Another ‘Brutal’ Reminder

dog-fighting-raidFor more than 250 dogs, the nightmare is now over. After a year-long investigation, 22 people have been indicted following the dramatic raid of a suspected multi-state dog fighting operation. Our Red Star® Rescue team was waiting to spring into action at the request of the Baltimore City Police Department to help the animal victims. Our team’s mission was to help local groups, such as the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), bring peace and compassionate care to the dogs that were rescued from what was presumably years of suspected abuse and neglect.

During their investigation, police found treadmills, guns, dogs on heavy chains, “rape stands” and other items which are frequently found at properties with ties to dog fighting rings. Many of the dogs were reportedly found living in deplorable conditions – and it was also reported that many of the individuals who are suspected of being connected with the alleged operation, have a criminal past.

Animal fighting is a barbaric and cowardly form of cruelty. It is an unfathomable abuse that occurs in our nation’s neighborhoods – large or small – all under the veil of devious secrecy. One that not only leads to immense animal suffering – but one that frequently also involves other crimes and violence. In fact, we’ve known for far too long about The Link® between violence towards people and animals.

The Baltimore operation had connections to other states where other raids also occurred. But the message behind these “take-downs” is quite clear – now is the time for zero tolerance by all in our society for blood sports. The fighting must end. The brutal, heinous abuse of animals must end. But it takes a person with compassion and empathy, not violence and hatred, to show an animal you care – and to ultimately help put an end to violence in society as a whole.

The dogs rescued during this operation will no longer have to face an opponent in a ring of torture. But unless we put a stop to violence in our communities today, the horror will continue.

We are working to ensure this type of treatment of animals ends, and we will be there whenever and wherever we are needed. Thank you to our generous donors who have supported our Red Star Rescue team’s efforts to help animals in crisis.

American Humane Association is the country’s first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Visit American Humane Association at http://www.americanhumane.org and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Red Star® giving a happy holiday to shelter animals in need in New Jersey

Red Star National Director Justin L. Scally comforts a cat in the Helmetta, NJ shelter

Red Star National Director Justin L. Scally comforts a cat in the Helmetta, NJ shelter

When we received the call, it seemed like déjà vu. It’s the second time our Red Star® team was asked this year alone to help a New Jersey animal shelter on the brink. And again, the situation was bleak. According to the New Jersey SPCA, “Simple matters such as….the lack of cleaning of cages, basic feeding, the co-mingling of sick and healthy animals, insufficient veterinary care, the lack of disease control protocols, [with] the majority of the animals thin or emaciated, and the need for emergency vet care of some severely sick animals, are all of a very disturbing nature and require immediate action.”

To help, we deployed our 50-foot Lois Pope Red Star Rescue Vehicle assigned to the Northeast region along with a team of staff and volunteers to care for the animals – and to turn things around for the more than 100 dogs and cats impacted by the situation. As I’m writing this today however, we helped to reduce the number of animals here to 62 cats and 15 dogs. Happily, many of the animals who have since left the shelter have been taken to other rescue groups where they can be adopted out and where they can begin their new lives. Some of those animals, however, were in such dire shape that they needed more intense veterinary care than we could provide here.

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The facility is still under quarantine by the health department until further notice, meaning they cannot bring in any additional animals, nor are they open for adoption. That said, we remain hopeful that soon more of these beautiful creatures can find a second chance in a forever home. But until then, the Red Star team will continue to clean the facility, treat the animals, and provide them with the compassionate care that they haven’t experienced in a long time.

In the week since our team arrived here in Helmetta, we’ve seen a remarkable change in the disposition of these animals. They were scared, and sometimes even sick or hurt.  But our highly trained team of staff and volunteers is here to provide tender loving care and these animals seem to sense that. The transformation in these few short days has been miraculous.

Thanks to Our Volunteers and Major Sponsors

We are grateful to our volunteers who chose to use their hard-earned vacation time before the holiday season to deploy with the Red Star team.

But it’s not just our Red Star team that’s been working to help animals in Helmetta. Our Red Star team is only able to do its lifesaving working thanks to its presenting sponsor, MARS Petcare US, makers of PEDIGREE® Food for Dogs. In addition, MARS has sent a shipment of food and coupons to make sure the animals have plenty of good, nutritious food to eat.

Our Northeast emergency response vehicle was generously funded by philanthropist Lois Pope and Banfield Pet Hospital®, which also sent a team to provide some of the veterinary care and veterinary supplies these animals have desperately needed for so long. It’s wonderful to have sponsors who not only provide the necessary support to keep our team moving and outfitted, but who are also there side by side with us, rolling up their sleeves to help the dogs and cats in any way they can.

It’s been a hard but heartwarming week in New Jersey, and we remain hopeful that we can give a happy holiday to the  animals who remain in our care.  If you can help, please do by visiting here. Thank you!

American Humane Association is the country’s first national humane organization and the only one dedicated to protecting both children and animals. Visit American Humane Association at http://www.americanhumane.org and remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Our Top 10 Reasons to Be Thankful this Year

On this special holiday devoted to giving thanks, we would like to share our Top 10 Reasons to be thankful in 2014:

  1. Farmers and ranchers who put the “thanks” in Thanksgiving by going the extra mile to raise their animals humanely.

Some 10 billion animals are raised on our nation’s farms and ranches, yet the vast majority – almost 90 percent – are not provided animal-centric welfare standards beyond the industry standards offered by trade association guidelines and retailer-imposed audits. Our hats are off to those farmers and ranchers who go the extra mile and raise their animals according to science-based, verifiable standards that ensure they have adequate space, lighting, food and water, humane treatment and the ability to express natural behaviors. More than 100 producers on 8,000 farms have joined our American Humane Certified™ program – the country’s first and largest farm animal welfare effort now protecting 1 billion animals. Thank you! And now it is even easier than ever for Americans to make humane choices at the grocery store and to set a humane table this holiday season and all year long. Join us and do your part by purchasing humanely raised products.

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The Reunion of Specialist Brent Grommet with his Warrior Dog Matty

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It was a dream come true for hero dog and hero soldier.  Thanks to Don Grommet’s personal mission to right a wrong for his son, a hero in the War on Terror, MWD Matty is now at home in Missouri with his battle buddy.   I am so thrilled that Specialist Brent Grommet and his dog Matty have been reunited after more than a year apart.  I am also humbled that American Humane Association was able to play a part in making this reunion happen.  American Humane has helped numerous warrior dog handlers reunite with their battle buddies, but this reunion is extra special because of all the work and effort that went into it. After working with so many veterans to help them be reunited with the dogs with whom they developed such a close bond, you come to understand just how important and meaningful those relationships are to these men and women. It’s about compassion, caring and healing. Continue reading

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