The cub-petting industry, which gained nationwide infamy with the sensational 2020 Netflix documentary, “Tiger King,” is now illegal in the United States.
President Biden on Tuesday signed the Big Cat Public Safety Act into law, which bans the private ownership of lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, cougars, or any cross-species hybrids of those animals. It makes the practice of cub-petting illegal and prohibits the breeding of big cats for private possession. It also prohibits members of the public from having close contact with big cats, outlawing the practice of taking selfies next to cubs, for instance.
Federally licensed animal sanctuaries or zoos may still exhibit big cats. There is also a grandfather clause that permits individuals who currently possess a big cat to keep them as long as the animal is registered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service within 180 days.
Violators could face a maximum $20,000 fine and/or up to five years in jail for each offense.
Carole Baskin, founder and chief executive officer of Big Cat Rescue, left, gestures while arriving for a meeting with Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., March 2, 2022. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“Over four years of work have finally led to this moment. I am grateful to all those who have believed in the importance of this bill and who have been dedicated to seeing it become law,” said bill sponsor Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill. “This legislation will not only help end the cruel and inhumane cub petting industry, it will also make our communities safer.”
A press release from Quigley’s office credited “Tiger King” with raising public awareness of “the miserable conditions thousands of tigers, lions, leopards, and pumas are kept in by irresponsible owners,” which led to passage of his bill.
Former big cat zoo owner Joe Exotic and his nemesis big cat rescuer Carole Baskin. He is in prison for hiring a hit man to kill her.
Animal rights activists applauded the legislation, including Big Cat Rescue, the accredited non-profit animal sanctuary founded by “Tiger King” star Carole Baskin.
“This bill has been the number one goal of my 30 years of advocacy to stop the mistreatment of big cats. This has been particularly true in the last 20 years during which my husband Howard Baskin joined me and took over managing our legislative efforts,” Baskin said earlier this month after the bill unanimously passed the Senate.
“The passage of the bill is the successful culmination of many years of battling against narcissistic, abusive, dangerous men who dominated this cruel trade and did everything they could to stop its passage, including wanting to intimidate, discredit, and even kill me,” she added.
Goal: Ban reportedly unethical and unnecessary animal fur farms throughout Romania.
A recent undercover investigation of 11 chinchilla fur farms in Romania has revealed—once again—the disturbing nature of animal breeding and use by the fashion industry. The animal welfare group that conducted this series of investigations reports severe breaches of Romanian law by the facilities in question. Hundreds of chinchillas were allegedly kept in a dark basement in filthy, barbed wire cages stacked one on top of the other. Females were reportedly constantly bred—remaining in what was described as permanent pregnancy cycles—and forced into a stiff neck brace that would prevent them from escaping during mating. Newborns allegedly struggled to walk against the harsh barbed wire, while older chinchillas frantically chewed at the cages as if to try and escape.
Chinchillas were allegedly illegally killed, as operators were reported to viciously break the sensitive animals’ necks. One farmer even apparently showed investigators a gas chamber—which he constructed out of a pressure cooker—that spews poisonous gas, killing the animals slowly and painfully. These abuses are seemingly common to most every fur farm across every nation, and we must do better to protect those targeted by the apparently cruel methods employed on these farms.
Sign this petition to demand Romania ban fur farms once and for all. Animal fur is not ours to wear.
Dear Prime Minister Circa,
An undercover investigation of 11 fur farms across Romania has revealed the seemingly horrific circumstances in which chinchillas are forced to live and die. Chinchillas were reportedly kept in a dark, dingy basement, shoved into tiny barbed wire cages that were rarely, if ever, cleaned. Newborns apparently struggled to walk, while females were allegedly restrained with neck braces to prevent them from escaping during repeated mating affairs. Investigators report multiple breaches of Romanian law, including illegally killing chinchillas by breaking their necks.
We are asking you, Mr. Circa, to ban fur farms throughout Romania and stop torturing innocent animals in the name of fashion.
PETITION TARGET: Mobile County District Attorney, City Commissioner and Sheriff’s Department
Dogs were reportedly kept on short heavy chains, caged, bred for cruel dog fights and denied food, water and shelter at a home in Mobile, Alabama, according to news reports.
Concerned and disturbed neighbors alleged that they witnessed abuse for nearly two years before the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office conducted a major raid of the home, rescuing 11 dogs that showed signs of long-term neglect, according to a veterinarian.
Two dogs appeared to be very sick, and two others had healing scars,according to investigators. Seven dogs were transported to the county animal shelter, and four others were rushed to the vet.
Authorities also removed contraband typically used to train dogs to fight, including a treadmill, which welfare experts said are often used to cruelly force dogs to run while terrified animals dangle in front of them as “bait.”
Authorities have charged Paul Kyles, 47, with first degree animal abuse, NBC 15 News reported. Kyles also was charged with a separate dog cruelty offense back in August, according to jail records and news reports.
Sensitive and intelligent dogs should never have to endure such horrific abuse. It’s crucial that this case be taken seriously before any more dogs are harmed or killed.
Sign our petition urging prosecutors to treat this case of animal cruelty with the severity it deserves, including a lifelong ban on owning or possessing animals and ensuring the animal cruelty charge remains on the record for the individual(s) responsible. We’re also urging authorities in Mobile County to ban chaining and for the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department to swiftly take action in future cases involving cruelty to animals.
Target: Chuck Schumer, Majority Leader of the United States Senate
Goal: Stop the torturing animals for our entertainment and demand a ban on the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses.
Don’t be fooled by the go-lucky attitude of circus entertainment. While it might look to be all fun and games—with animals jumping through hoops and standing on their heads—wild animals do not do these tricks of their own volition. They do them because they are afraid of what will happen if they don’t.
Elephants, bears, tigers, and other circus animals are subjected to extreme mental and physical duress throughout the training process. Animals are coerced into performing by being repeatedly beaten with whips, electric prods, and bullhooks—a stout pole with a sharp hook at one end. These wild animals are forced to travel, sometimes year round, with minimal access to veterinary care or other basic necessities. Elephants are shackled in chains, and big cats are shoved in cramped, filthy cages.
The Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act has recently been reintroduced to Congress. If passed, this act will prohibit the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses and save thousands of elephants, tigers, lions, and tigers from abuse. Demand an end to this routine cruelty and encourage legislators to support the Traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act.
Dear Senator Schumer,
Elephants, bears, tigers, and other animals used in circuses suffer severe physical and psychological abuse. These animals are beaten with electric prods and sharp hooks in order to force them to perform unnatural tricks for human entertainment. When not performing, these wild animals are shackled in chains and shoved in small, filthy cages where they eat, sleep, and defecate.
There is, however, hope for circus animals. Although there is currently little int the way of legal protections for these animals—the government currently doesn’t even monitor training sessions for abuse—the recent reintroduction of the traveling Exotic Animal and Public Safety Protection Act brings with it the promise of an end to the suffering. If passed, this act will prohibit the use of exotic and wild animals in traveling circuses, carnivals, or parades.
We are asking you, Senator Schumer, to support this legislation and help bring an end to this cruel and unusual practice.
PETITION TARGET: The U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee Chair Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ)
In overcrowded and disease-ridden fur farms, helpless newborn mink are jammed into tiny, metal cages and held there until they’re slaughtered at about six months old. Their lives are filled with fear, stress, parasites, and illness.
But now, a bill making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives would ban the cruel and inhumane treatment of minks in the United States, effectively abolishing mink farming and eliminating a potential source of new COVID-19 variants in these horrifying facilities.
The market for mink and other furs has shrunk in recent years as major fashion companies — including luxury giant Neiman Marcus — are moving away from selling animal furs. Opposition to fur farming also has increased in recent years over growing concerns that COVID-19 spreading among mink and other farmed animals could lead to deadly mutations of the virus.
It’s time to end mink fur farming in the United States.
Sign this petition urging the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee Chair Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) to support this critical legislation that could save countless mink and human lives.
PETITION TARGETS: Rep. Donald Beyer, Health Subcommittee Chairperson Anna G. Eshoo, House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr.
Intelligent donkeys are being crammed en masse into transport trucks, bludgeoned to death with hammers and axes, and then skinned so their stolen hides can be boiled to create a “hide glue” that can sell for as much as $400 a pound on the black market.
An estimated 4.8 million donkeys are dying each year to cater to increasing demand for Ejiao (pronounced eh-gee-ow) — the gelatin released from the donkeys’ boiled skins that is unnecessarily used for beauty products, snacks, and candy.
Donkeys are extremely intelligent, sentient beings who form lifelong bonds. But their journeys — and their deaths — for the cruel Ejiao trade are brutal.
Often sold for “quick cash” in impoverished countries, the donkeys are forced to march hundreds of miles without food, water, or rest, or are herded into transport trucks, where handlers often tie their legs together and pile them on top of eachother or even strap the living animals to the tops of the trucks, according to Science.
Donkeys often arrive at slaughterhouses with broken or severed limbs and serious injuries, only to be killed with hammers, axes, or knives before their skins are exported and their bloody corpses are cast aside as unusable, according to nonprofit The Donkey Sanctuary.
While the brutality toward these innocent donkeys takes part overseas, the United States has a significant role in their suffering as the third largest importer of products containing Ejiao.
Now, a bill could help end this vicious cycle of cruelty — but it’s running out of time in this year’s legislative session.
HR 5203, also known as The Ejiao Act, would prohibit the knowing sale or transport of Ejiao or products containing Ejiao in interstate or foreign commerce. But the bill has been stuck in the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health since September 2021.
It’s critical that legislators act quickly on this lifesaving legislation — or re-introduce the legislation for timely passage in the next one.
Sign our petition urging legislators to revive and quickly pass the Ejiao Act, which would help save the lives of countless donkeys by curbing demand for this product created from donkeys’ serious pain and suffering.
Tweet @GovMurphy + urge him to keep his commitment to end bear hunting in the state. Remind him that 76% of Americans disapprove of black bear trophy hunting + there are effective, non-lethal + humane solutions to mitigate negative human-bear interactions. pic.twitter.com/cTPEK8C9LE
SIGN: Shut Down Dog Gas Chamber in Wyoming Animal Shelter
Image via Adobe Stock.
PETITION TARGET: Green River Mayor Pete Rust
UPDATE (9/27/2022): Shelter animals are still being gassed to death despite a local city’s announcement, in January, that they’d replace an inhumane gas chamber with a more humane injection option, according to Sweetwater Now news.
Members of Wyoming Against Gas Chambers demanded answers about the transition’s progress during a Green River City Council meeting and were informed by Police Chief Tom Jarvie that the city had consulted veterinary experts, received recommendations for alternatives, ordered equipment and an “injector,” and were upgrading a room in the shelter for injected euthanasia.
Meanwhile, the shelter is continuing to kill animals via gassing, according to the news reports. We will keep watching this case to make sure the changes are implemented.–Lady Freethinker Staff
The horrors for an unsuspecting dog forced into a gas chamber start with the loud and frightening noise of deadly gas. Then come muscle spasms, as coordination fails. Convulsions are common during the excruciating and painfully prolonged process that follows — with studies recording heartbeats for up to 20 minutes after animals are exposed to carbon monoxide.
Death by gas chamber has been deemed so inhumane that the cruel practice is only legally allowed in animal shelters in four states — and most of those states have no existing chambers, although the laws are still in the books.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause significant distress to animals, cannot be relied on to deliver a rapid or even certain death, poses significant physical health risks for shelter staff, and is a more expensive method than euthanasia by injection (EBI).
Sign our petition urging Green River Mayor Pete Rust and the City Council to outlaw the use of any cruel gas chambers within his jurisdiction and to transition to humane methods for euthanizing animals.
Target: Michelle Cooley, Founder and President of Kaaawa K9 Rescue
Goal: Ensure health and safety of rescue animals at seemingly neglectful facility.
Five dogs allegedly had to be rescued from a rescue facility in Hawaii. The Hawaii Humane Society took custody of the dogs from Kaaawa K9 Rescue after abuse allegations were made online and to local authorities about the organization. The accusations stated that animals were in poor health and possibly being neglected.
The owner of the organization claims the issues are due to a landlord dispute and a recent alleged arson on the property. While the local humane society found no outright evidence of abuse, the fact that they felt compelled to remove nearly half a dozen animals from a property charged with the care of these animals is disturbing. Even the owner herself reportedly admits difficulty in keeping up with care of these animals.
Sign the petition below to urge closure of an aid facility that has seemingly become a danger itself.
Dear Ms. Cooley,
No matter the source of your recent troubles with Kaaawa K9 Rescue, you have reportedly admitted that these issues are impeding your ability to care for at-risk animals. The mission of a rescue organization should always put the vulnerable living beings under its care first. Please honor this mission.
Close Kaawa until this organization can live up to its billing.
UPDATE (8/9/2022): Great News! On July 29th, International Tiger Day, the House of Representatives passed the Big Cat Public Safety Act. Now, the bill is headed to the Senate. Add your signature now to urge them to pass this lifesaving legislation! — Lady Freethinker Staff
Thousands of big cats are wasting away as “pets” in the United States. These majestic animals are torn from their mothers while only babies and may spend their lives pacing miserably in tiny, cramped cages with no hope of a natural life.
Not only do these animals suffer mentally and physically, but they are also a threat to people, with hundreds of dangerous incidents involving big cats and humans occurring over the last 30 years.
The Big Cat Public Safety Act (BCPSA) — introduced in the House as HR 263 and in the Senate as S1210 — seeks to ban private individuals from owning any big cat species and restrict direct contact between these animals and the general public.
Only licensed facilities would be allowed to house big cats, effectively removing these animals from roadside zoos.
The BCPSA needs your support!
Sign this petition urging Congress to pass this important bill for big cat protections and to save thousands of big cats from suffering.
Target: Deb Haaland, United States Secretary of the Interior
Goal: Demand all wolf hunting be banned to protect this important species.
A Montana woman, Amber Rose Barnes, reportedly bragged about killing what she “thought” to be a baby wolf. In a Facebook post, she apparently wrote how excited she was about the opportunity to “take another predator wolf pup,” seemingly expecting to be celebrated by the online community. However, in the extremely disturbing photos posted to accompany the text, one thing is made blatantly apparent—Barnes did not slaughter a wolf puppy, but instead, had seemingly hunted and skinned a domestic husky puppy.
Barnes is a part of a subculture of people who seemingly do not understand the ecological significance of these species—who apparently take pride in killing beautiful animals and are enabled to do so without any regard for the animals’ welfare by the law. While on February 10, 2022 several federal protections were reinstated for wolves in much of the contiguous United States, these protections were not restored in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region. This region, however, is the site where over 80% of wolf hunting occurs, with over 1,000 wolves being slaughtered here on a yearly basis.
Sign this petition to demand legislators restore vital protections for wolves in the Northern Rockies and prevent despicable people from partaking in their ruthless slaughter.
Dear Secretary Haaland,
A Montana woman by the name of Amber Rose Barnes reportedly killed and skinned a husky puppy by mistake when hunting for wolves. This incident comes after the decision earlier this year to restore federal protections for wolves in some—but not all—of the United States. These protections were not reinstated in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region, where over 80% of wolf hunting occurs and over 1,000 wolves are slaughtered each year. We should not be encouraging people to commit unnecessary acts of violence against wolves. Not only are they beautiful, highly social creatures, but they are extremely important to the ecosystems of which they are a part and have formidable impacts on entire geographical regions.
We are asking you, Ms. Haaland, to protect wolves in all regions throughout the U.S. and stop allowing this bloodshed.
Target: Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States
Goal: Ban the inhumane practice of gassing dogs and cats at kill shelters.
Dogs and cats in kill shelters are euthanized at alarming rates. While the number of animals euthanized has decreased significantly from previous years–it was in the millions just a few years ago–hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats still face this cruel fate each year in the United States.
Kill shelters usually give their pets a mere 72 hours and, if the pet doesn’t get adopted within this minimal time frame, they are euthanized in the name of population management. Sometimes, dogs or cats considered “desirable” will be given a little extra time, though it is only a matter of a day or two. Animals that are killed are usually perfectly healthy and often extremely sociable–they are by no means unadoptable, just victims of poor circumstance and timing.
Among the many methods of euthanization is gassing. Unfortunately, though outlawed in the majority of states, this practice is still legal in four states–namely Ohio, Wyoming, Missouri and Utah. Gas chambers are regarded as a particularly efficient method for euthanizing animals, as they allow workers to kill the most animals in the least amount of time. Gas chambers are metal boxes that emit either carbon monoxide (CO) or carbon dioxide (CO2) in high doses.
To save money spent on CO and CO2 gasses, tens of animals are usually cramped into the chamber at once. Animals are stressed and scared as they enter the unfamiliar environment that often reeks of the urine, blood, and feces of animals from prior executions. Dogs and cats cry out as they are being gassed and desperately try to escape, sometimes even breaking their own claws as they try to dig their way to freedom. Arguably the most disturbing part is that it might be upwards of forty minutes before an animal loses consciousness, so they are subjected to these agonizing conditions for a prolonged period of time.
Dogs and cats belong in homes to be loved and cared for, not thrown into metal gas chambers and discarded as if they are trash. Sign this petition to encourage that gas chambers be banned on a national level–there are more humane methods of euthanization, and it is our duty to ensure these methods are the ones implemented.
Dear President Biden,
The practice of euthanizing adoptable dogs and cats at overcrowded shelters is still very common throughout the United States. Among these methods of euthanization exists an unusually cruel method of torture–known as a gas chamber. Gas chambers, which are metal crates that emit copious amounts of poisonous gasses such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, are outlawed in most states. However, this means of euthanization is still legal and routinely practiced in four American states: Ohio, Wyoming, Missouri and Utah.
Dogs and cats subjected to these conditions suffer agonizing deaths. Tens of animals are thrown into a chamber at once, oftentimes stressed and scared by the strange environment. According to eyewitness accounts of the gassing process, animals typically cry out and try–without success–to dig their way out of the chambers. When unloading and discarding the bodies, shelter workers often notice injuries–like broken bones and claws–sustained during the gassing. Worst of all, it could take up to forty minutes for animals to completely lose consciousness, meaning they suffer immensely throughout this wretched process.
If dogs and cats must be killed by these shelters, we at least owe them a more humane death. Euthanization, by definition, means a painless death, so how can we continue to allow this as a permissible euthenasisa form? We are asking you, President Biden, to reduce the suffering of dogs and cats at shelters and to enact a national law banning the use of gas chambers in all states.
Target: Joseph R. Biden, President of United States
Goal: Ban discriminatory laws targeting particular dog breeds.
Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) is the term applied to any law that places stricter restrictions on or even bans the ownership of certain dogs on the basis of their breed. Though thought of as a preventative measure to protect people from “dangerous” dog breeds, there is no clear evidence that BSL is even effective in reducing dog bite attacks. Dogs commonly included among these discriminatory laws are Pit Bull Terriers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, English Bull Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Chow Chows, Mastiffs, and may extend to other breeds that resemble these dogs.
While federal bills enacting BSL in the United States were phased out in 2006 and 2010, individual states and cities are now allowed to make their own regulations regarding which types of dogs are allowed where. Several states, like New York and Texas, have specific laws that regulate dangerous dogs individually, instead of enforcing discriminatory BSL policies against entire breeds of dogs. However, more than 700 U.S. cities in 36 states have enacted breed-specific laws. In these places it is illegal to own specific dogs due to their appearance, or dogs of certain breeds are highly regulated and aren’t afforded the same rights as non-targeted breeds. Dogs of certain breeds are even banned from national military bases, as instituted by policies regulated by the Residential Communities Initiative consortium.
In addition to the fact that BSL is not even effective in enhancing public safety, the enactment of these unfair laws also reinforces negative stereotypes for the dogs it targets, which has many devastating consequences. Pit Bulls, and other “bully” breeds, are among the first to be killed in shelters and Pit Bulls/ Pit Bull mixes are by far the most euthanized breed in American shelters.
Serious incidents relating to dog bites are more likely the cause of individual behavioral issues or irresponsible ownership than they are a result of a given dogs’ breed. All dogs have the ability to bite. Sign this petition to end unfair discriminatory legislation against specific dogs and to ban BSL at a federal level.
Dear President Biden,
The practice of discriminating against dogs on the basis of their breed– known as Breed Specific Legislation (BSL)– is still legal in many cities and states throughout the U.S. BSL targets a dozen or so dogs, including Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds, in an unfounded attempt to reduce dog bite attacks and enhance public safety in the process. Laws often restrict where dogs of certain breeds can go, or prohibit ownership of these breeds altogether.
There has been no evidence that BSL has been effective in minimizing dog bite incidents. In fact, BSL has done more harm than good. Pit Bulls and other “bully” breeds suffer immensely from the harsh stereotypes forced upon them. These dogs are among the first to be euthanized by U.S. shelters and Pit Bulls remain the number one most euthanized breed of dog. BSL fully neglects the influence of other, more relevant factors contributing to dog bite incidents, including individual behavioral issues and poor ownership.
We are asking you, President Biden, to please support federal legislation to ban this unfair discrimination of dogs on the basis of their appearances. You will save millions of lives in the process.
Target: Craig Alexander Newmark, Founder of Craigslist
Goal: Demand Craigslist and other online domains be more vigilant about the sale of puppy mill dogs on their sites.
Puppy mills are particularly cruel operations. At these breeding facilities, dogs are kept in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions, forced to live in tiny cages that are rarely—if ever—cleaned. Due to the close confines and lack of veterinary care access, dogs at these mills often fall sick and premature death is relatively common. Puppies are removed from their mothers shortly after birth, so that their mothers can move onto producing yet another litter. These dogs are often not even let out of their cages to exercise or interact with humans, leaving them unsocialized and anxious. Puppy mills largely neglect the needs of mother dogs and puppies, as the sole goal of their operation is to produce as many dogs as possible to sell for as much money as possible.
While many states have begun banning the sale of dogs in pet stores—as most of these dogs are supplied by abusive puppy mill operations—puppy mill owners have found creative ways around in person sales. Owners have grown increasingly reliant on online forums, such as Craigslist and Ebay, where they deceive customers with pictures of happy and healthy puppies in fields with bows—shielding the public from the harsh reality of their business.
While Craigslist has formally banned the sale of live animals on its website, backyard breeders and mill operators are still easily able to sell their animals on the site under false pretenses. Sign this petition to demand Craigslist pay more close attention to the sale of live animals on its site and forbid any further posts advertising available puppies.
Dear Mr. Newmark,
While Craigslist formally prohibits the sale of live animals, many illegal or unethical breeders have found ways around this ban and continue to sell their animals on your online platform. Craigslist has become a hotspot for puppy mill operators to advertise their dogs under the guise of being a reputable breeder. Though they advertise healthy looking puppies in spacious fields with bows in their fur, these images couldn’t be farther from the truth. Dogs at puppy mills suffer extreme abuse, as they are viewed only as vessels to breed and sell for profit rather than as animals with individual needs.
We are asking you, Mr. Newmark, to be more vigilant about the sale of puppy mill dogs on your site and to prevent Craigslist from being involved in illegal and unethical puppy trafficking operations.
Target: Alan Wilson, Attorney General of South Carolina
Goal: Demand the alleged operators of the largest known dogfighting operation in South Carolina history be prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law.
Recently, over 300 dogs were rescued from what officials consider the largest dogfighting ring in South Carolina history. Over 60 state and federal officers reportedly interrupted a scheduled dogfighting match in Richmond County, in addition to executing search warrants at nearby properties rumored to contain dogfighting associations. Officers were stunned by the cruelty they seemingly witnessed at these locations. Dogfighting paraphernalia was reportedly scattered about, and emaciated puppies with their rib cages showing were apparently found chained to trees and shoved in filthy cages.
So far, more than 20 individuals have been arrested for charges relating to animal cruelty. According to the Animal Welfare Act, individuals can face up to five years in prison for dogfighting charges. While the dogs are currently being taken care of by the Humane Society of the United States and Bark Nation, the sad reality is that many of these dogs will likely have to be euthanized, since their sole life purpose up until this point had seemingly been to fight and they are too aggressive to be placed into loving homes.
Sign this petition to demand all found guilty of involvement are punished at the fullest extent of the law. Dogfighting has no home here in the United States, or anywhere else.
Dear Attorney General Wilson,
It has been brought to public attention that over 300 dogs were reportedly rescued from an undercover dogfighting ring in South Carolina thought to have been the largest such operation in the states’ history. Officials on site at the 20+ search warrant properties were stunned by the apparent cruelty they witnessed, and images taken depict starved puppies with their rib cages showing chained to trees by heavy metal links, with others shoved in filthy, barren cages. Unfortunately, although the dogs are in the custody of the Humane Society of the United States and Bark Nation, most of these dogs–who reportedly spent their entire lives being trained to fight and kill–will most likely have to be euthanized.
Dogfighting is a terrible crime, and we are asking you, Mr. Wilson, that all individuals found guilty of involvement be punished at the fullest extent of the law.
Goal: Help victims of domestic violence by protecting their pets.
An estimated 71% of women at domestic violence shelters report that their abusers also targeted their pets, according to Representative Angela Romero of Salt Lake City. Abusers also often exploit their victims’ emotional attachment to pets as a tactic of manipulation, and about 25% of domestic violence survivors say they return to their abusers because they are worried about the safety of their pets.
A bill that would provide vital protections for pets against instances of domestic abuse has passed the Utah House. If this bill passes the Senate, Utah will follow thirty-five other states which already have similar protections in place. Not only would this bill save animals from suffering, it would also provide psychological support to survivors of domestic abuse and stalking.
Sign this petition to demand the state of Utah stand up for their survivors and pass this protective legislation.
Dear President Stuart Adams,
A bill has recently passed the Utah House which would instate vital protections for pets targeted by acts of domestic abuse. In addition to helping to reduce animal suffering, this bill would also help survivors of domestic violence feel like they can escape their situations. About a quarter of domestic violence survivors say they return to their abusers because they are worried about the safety of their pets. With this bill, survivors can be assured that their pets will be taken care of.
We are asking you, Mr. Adams, to join thirty-five other states in prioritizing the physical and psychological welfare of animals and victims over domestic abusers. Pass this bill in the Utah Senate.
Target: Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States
Goal: Demand increased funding for local animal shelters in the wake of overcrowding.
Animal shelters across the United States are in trouble. In the midst of illegal or irresponsible breeding, the eviction crisis, and rising rates of inflation, dogs, cats, puppies, and kittens are being brought into shelters at alarmingly rapid paces. These shelters are extremely overwhelmed and understaffed, with more animals coming in than they have the resources to care for.
As a result, shelters are having to make difficult decisions. Animals are being turned down, forcing owners to choose either to continue to try and care for the pet themselves or abandon it somewhere outside. Many shelters that have long operated on no-kill policies have been forced to move towards euthanasia, as they simply do not have the means by which to support such high quantities of animals. As a lot of the surrendered dogs and cats were family pets, they are highly adoptable and would make great additions to any home if only given adequate time to find one.
These shelters need our help, and fast. Sign this petition to demand increased funding for animal shelters across the U.S. and to help them in their amazing efforts to save the nation’s dogs and cats.
Dear President Biden,
Animal shelters throughout the U.S. are in the midst of a crisis. Economic hardships brought about by the pandemic, irresponsible pet ownership, illegal breeding, and the rising costs of living have all contributed to the mass influx of pets surrendered to local shelters. Most of the shelters do not have the resources to care for all these dogs and cats on their own–they are significantly understaffed, overworked, and running out of money. Many shelters that had run on no-kill policies have had to turn towards euthanasia, as they simply cannot afford to care for all of the animals in their possession.
We are asking you, Mr. Biden, to help save dogs and cats during these trying times and increase funding to local animal shelters. These animals deserve a loving home.
Target: Thomas J. Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture
Goal: Mandate psychological treatment for kids who commit acts of animal cruelty to protect other animals and people.
It was over a year ago that Buddy the dog was found near death, with an extension cord tied around his neck, covered in burn marks from having been set on fire. The alleged perpetrator of this heinous crime: a 12-year-old Mississippi child. While this would typically be considered a felony punishable by up to three years in prison, children under 12 cannot be charged with a crime or evaluated according to Mississippi state law.
In the wake of much public outrage, officials created Buddy’s, law which went into effect on July 1st of 2022. According to Buddy’s law, any child convicted of torturing animals is required to receive psychiatric evaluation and treatment. Not only will this law protect thousands of animals from abuse, it will also possibly save the lives of many people, as there is a relatively well established link between animal abuse and later acts of violence towards humans.
Sign this petition to demand Buddy’s law be passed on a federal level and hold abusers in all states across the U.S. accountable for their crimes.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
Buddy’s law was recently passed in Mississippi after Buddy, a family dog, was found with an extension cord tied tightly around his neck and covered in burn marks. This terrible crime was allegedly committed by a child who, under the age of 12, couldn’t be charged with a crime or evaluated by the state.
Buddy’s law changes this. According to the law, any child convicted of torturing animals is required to receive psychiatric evaluation and treatment. Not only will this get children the help they need, it will also likely save animals and even other people. The correlation between early childhood acts of animal abuse and later acts of violence towards humans is relatively well-established, and perpetrators of crimes towards animals are typically capable of much more.
We are asking you, Mr. Vilsack, to encourage Buddy’s law to be passed on a federal level as an amendment to the Animal Welfare Act.
Susie, the beloved pitbull mix who became a symbol of hope and perseverance after inspiring important animal cruelty laws, has passed away. The beautiful dog, who survived horrendous abuse, later went on to put her paw print to North Carolina legislation which increased the penalties for animal cruelty. Susie spent much of her amazing life visiting hospitals, schools, and even won the Hero Dog Award from the Humane Society. But animal cruelty persists in the state, and legislators must uphold Susie’s amazing legacy!
Sign now to demand that sentencing and ownership laws for animal cruelty in North Carolina be strengthened in Susie’s honor!
In 2009, Susie was found in a park, covered in maggots, horrifically beaten and even burned. After being examined by veterinarians at a shelter in the area, experts estimated that she had been left in that tragic condition for weeks. Susie was missing teeth, burns covered well over half of her body, and her jaw was broken. As a puppy, she had endured any dog’s worst nightmare. Susie’s story is a devastating example of why animal cruelty laws are so important.
North Carolina is currently ranked appallingly low for animal protections — 42nd out of all 50 states. This is a disgrace to Susie and the many, many animals who have endured horrifying abuse. But the North Carolina legislature can take a few simple steps to dramatically increase animal welfare in the state. By adding statutorily authorized sentencing to mental health evaluation or treatment and a ban on animal ownership for people convicted of felony animal cruelty to Susie’s Law, the lives of untold animals could be protected.
Sign the petition now to tell legislators in North Carolina: the time is now to stand for animal rights! Fight against animal cruelty in honor of Susie!more
Tethering dogs is extremely dangerous and leaves them vulnerable to extreme weather, dehydration, and starvation. Being tethered restricts their movements and can even leave them vulnerable to attacks from other animals. Dogs are not meant to be on chains all day! North Carolina is working on passing a bill to make sure tethering dogs is illegal. We need to make sure that this bill passes in the state legislature.
Typically, Senate and House Republicans in the state of North Carolina are slow to pass animal welfare laws because of the hog and poultry industry ties all across the state. They fear that passing animal welfare laws will make them have to do more to protect animals in cruel factory farming as well. And they should! All animals are sentient beings and deserve to be treated fairly no matter what.
Twenty-three other states have laws that limit or restrict how dogs can be tethered. It’s time that North Carolina protects animals and passes the Fiona Mae Wagglebottom Act and bans tethering in the state!
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Kim is a sweet little 5-year-old Jack Russell Terrier. She lives with her beloved human, Mr. Rogers, in Ireland, where they enjoy a peaceful life together. Rogers is 85 years old and describes Kim as his “best friend.” Every night, she sleeps at the foot of his bed, and during the day, they treasure going on walks together.
For five years, Kim never showed any aggression towards anyone, and was perfectly amiable. Then on one unfortunate day, while out on a walk, she nipped at a woman’s leg. Now that woman is demanding Kim be killed – and she doesn’t care that she’d be breaking an elderly gentleman’s heart in doing so.
Sign the petition to demand Irish authorities step in and prevent Kim’s impending euthanasia!
Kim has never bitten anyone before – not before this event, and not after. Yet that doesn’t matter to the woman involved. According to information from Twitter, the woman has a history of demanding dogs be euthanized for bites. She’s apparently been involved in multiple animal bite cases before. In all previous times, it seems she successfully forced the deaths of the other pups.
We don’t want dogs to be allowed to run around biting people. But surely there are other options besides taking away an animal’s life and breaking her human’s heart over just one mistake. In fact, Mr. Rogers has approached the woman on four different occasions, seeking to find other solutions. He’s offered, for example, to hire construction workers to build better fencing around his property, muzzle his pup, and even hire a dog behavior specialist to work with Kim. But the woman has shown no willingness to compromise.
The extreme stress of fighting for his best friend’s life has put tremendous strain on Mr. Rogers’s health. As he explained, “I have a heart condition, and I have a pacemaker fitted.” But because of all the emotional turmoil, he reports: “I am unable to sleep, especially in the early morning.” On top of that, his doctors recently discovered that his heart has been physically struggling on days when he goes to court over this incident.
In other words: euthanizing his dog could literally break his heart. Why would anyone do that to him or Kim?
Luckily, Mr. Rogers and Kim have supporters who are fighting to protect them. The comedian and actor Ricky Gervais recently tweeted about their ordeal, trying to raise awareness. And a GoFundMe campaign is working to raise money to help Mr. Rogers build a new fence and install a security system. That way he can prove to Irish courts that he is doing everything in his power to prevent future bites. We must join our voices together with theirs!
Irish officials have the power to intervene in order to help Mr. Rogers and save his dog. Sign the petition to demand they take immediate action to save Kim the Terrier from death!
PETITION TARGETS: Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development; Thai Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation; Ministry of Tourism and Sports in the Department of Tourism
Intelligent elephants are being starved, chained, and hit with metal spikes and vicious hooks so they will give rides and perform tricks for tourists at the Samutprakarn Crocodile Farm and Zoo in Thailand, according to news reports.
Concerned visitors to the zoo reportedly offered to donate food but were refused entrance. They then posted photos of injured and seemingly malnourished elephants on social media and alerted wildlife and livestock officials, whose investigation found the zoo was in violation of the Cruelty Prevention and Animal Welfare Act, according to Coconuts Bangkok.
But shockingly, local authorities reportedly have decided not to pursue penalties or cruelty charges — instead telling the zoo to feed the elephants more grass and loosen the animals’ chains to reduce stress and injury, according to news reports.
The zoo has previously made the news for grossly underweight elephants being forced to perform tricks and also for handlers who reportedly stabbed elephants with spikes to force them to entertain tourists, kept animals chained in crowded and unsanitary conditions, and forced tigers, chimpanzees, and an orangutan to pose with tourists for the zoo’s profit.
Wild animals do not deserve to endure such extreme suffering and degradation for people’s “entertainment.”
Thailand must enforce its animal cruelty statutes, and these atrocious acts also must be treated with the severity they deserve.
Sign our petition urging Thailand authorities who oversee elephant welfare to thoroughly investigate conditions at this zoo, crack down with maximum penalties for violations, and retire these suffering animals to a reputable sanctuary where they will no longer be abused or exploited.
Summer is upon us, and we’re experiencing heat that, if you aren’t careful, could be deadly. And not just to humans. Some pet owners don’t realize how dangerous it is to leave your pet in a hot car, especially when it’s not even that hot out. Did you know that if it is 75 degrees outside, the inside of a car can heat up to 94 degrees in just 10 minutes? Thankfully, some states have protections for good samaritans who rescue dogs from hot cars. But in New Jersey and West Virginia, if someone tries to save a dog locked in a hot car, they could get into hot water. In these two states, although it is a crime to leave animals in hot cars, no one is allowed to rescue them.
Sign the petition to urge New Jersey and West Virginia lawmakers to adopt good samaritan laws that make it legal to save animals in hot cars!
Dogs are totally at our mercy, unable to make the choice to get out of a car when it starts to become an inferno. Not only that, they’re actually more sensitive to heat! When the weather is hot, leaving a car window cracked doesn’t do much to help an animal trapped inside, according to Katherine Wood, a criminal justice fellow at the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “It’s problematic for dogs because, unlike us, they can’t sweat, for the most part. They’re a lot more susceptible to overheating, and they can go into heat strokes very quickly.”
There are 14 states with laws that allow citizens to rescue animals from hot cars. While rescuers in these states must satisfy certain requirements to avoid legal trouble, at least it is possible to save an overheating pup! How many more animals must die horrible deaths while trapped in a car, and how many more will die because it is illegal to rescue them?
Sign the petition to urge New Jersey and West Virginia lawmakers to adopt good samaritan laws that make it legal to save animals in hot cars!
In the state of Utah, as in much of the world during the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence rates are up. One non profit cited an increase of between 25-50% in domestic violence cases in the state during the pandemic. But right now, when a victim seeks a legal order of protection against an abuser, they could be putting their pets’ lives at risk. That’s why a new bill, HB 175, has been put forward that would allow those legal protections to extend to pets, the same way they extend to children.
Sign now if you want to keep at-risk pets safe from domestic abusers in Utah!
One such woman, Jessica, said it took her 2 years to leave an abusive situation with her dog, Roxie. When she finally did, her abuser tried to get Roxie back! But Jessica knew Roxie wouldn’t be safe with him. This is not an uncommon situation. That’s why the Humane Society of Utah and Ruff Haven have worked so hard on the bill that would allow orders of protection to include pets.
Research has shown that domestic abuse and animal abuse are linked. Studies show that people who abuse animal companions are more likely to act violently to their human partners. And we know that victims of domestic abuse often delay or avoid leaving a situation because their abuser may take their rage out on a pet. We need to make it easier for people and their pets to escape dangerous situations, together!
Suffering through domestic abuse is one of the worst experiences a person can have, coupled with putting your beloved animals at risk, the experience just gets more intense. Someone who abuses an intimate partner or family member would have no reason to stop at the family pet. Let’s make sure these vulnerable pets are safe!
Sign the petition to urge Utah legislators to pass this new bill and allow people who get legal orders of protection to extend those to their pets as well!
Hundreds of postcards, with visceral images of underfed golden retriever puppies living in filthy conditions, are flooding the governor’s office in New York. A huge email campaign has been launched by national animal rights groups.
The pet store industry and its lobbyists, however, have also mobilized. Zoom meetings have been held with the governor’s staff; a pet store employee has created an independent campaign of videos featuring well-treated puppies that have gone viral on TikTok.
Out of the hundreds of bills that Gov. Kathy Hochul must decide whether to sign before the end of the year, few appear to carry more emotional weight than the one affecting the welfare of a constituency that cannot even vote: puppies.
After years of debate, New York State lawmakers passed a bill in June with rare bipartisan support that would ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in New York’s pet stores, leading to a fractious clash between animal welfare groups and the pet store industry.
Over the past few weeks, they have redirected their efforts toward lobbying Ms. Hochul, meeting with her office to plead their case as she decides whether to sign or veto the bill, with both sides trading accusations of lying and spreading misinformation.
If Ms. Hochul signs the bill, New York would follow the lead of California, Maryland, Illinois and other states that have passed similar bans meant to curb commercial breeders, sometimes called puppy mills or kitten factories.
The breeding facilities have for years been the source of intense controversy because, according to animal rights advocates, they operate with little oversight and raise dogs in cruel and inhumane conditions, often leading to the sale of sick puppies to consumers.
The bill seeks to close that pipeline by prohibiting the sale of the animals in New York’s 80 or so pet stores — ubiquitous for the window displays of puppies that can go for thousands of dollars — and encouraging New Yorkers to adopt pets from shelters instead. People would still be permitted to buy the animals directly from breeders, an attempt to allow prospective pet owners to visit and buy from responsible breeders.
“We know what it looks like when animals don’t get that care and certainly, from photos and documentation of what these facilities look like, that is not happening,” said Jennie Lintz, the puppy mill initiative director at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “New York remains one of the largest markets for these commercial facilities, so the bill could have not just an impact here, but across the country.”
Pet stores have fiercely pushed back against the legislation, arguing that the bill would put them out of business, lead to the unemployment of hundreds of workers, make it harder for people to obtain a pet in the state and potentially lead to an underground market of pet sales — arguments that supporters of the bill have dismissed as overblown.
One of the industry’s largest grievances is its contention that animal activists have demonized most of the breeding industry as abusive. It argues that the unsanitary puppy mills that have been the target of damning investigations are not representative of the entire industry.
“Let’s not pretend that there aren’t people out there who are doing this the wrong way, but they are few and far between,” said Mike Bober, the president and chief executive of the Pet Advocacy Network, a national pet trade association. “We’re deeply offended and frustrated by the fact that people willingly and intentionally misrepresent the state of breeding in the country.”
Ms. Hochul, a Democrat running for a full term in November, has not publicly shared her thoughts on the bill and her office said it was still reviewing the legislation.
In New York, the state attorney general’s office has filed lawsuits in recent years against a handful of pet stores, including those in Albany and New York City, accusing them of misleading consumers and selling puppies that were ill or abused and came from unauthorized breeders.
In 2021, Attorney General Letitia James sued Shake a Paw, which operates two stores on Long Island, for doctoring health certificates, saddling customers with unforeseen veterinary costs and selling at least nine dogs that died from serious diseases soon after they were sold. The store owners have vociferously denied the allegations.
The lawsuits have helped fuel support for a ban, despite the industry’s belief that prohibiting the retail sale of puppies will lead to a cascade of unintended consequences, including more online scams and fewer legal protections for consumers who adopt sick puppies.
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While New York is home to about 40 commercial breeders, according to the A.S.P.C.A., the majority of the puppies sold at pet stores in the state are imported from breeders elsewhere, mostly the Midwest.
Emilio Ortiz, a manager at Citipups, a pet store with two locations in Manhattan, said the company carefully sourced the hundreds of puppies it sells each year from about 30 different breeders across the country that he said exceeded federally mandated standards and provided “a great living situation for their dogs.”
Mr. Ortiz, who has met with state lawmakers and the governor’s office to lobby against the bill, argued that the largest obstacle for the industry is a “distorted view and public narrative” that all breeders and pet stores are bad actors. In response, he began creating videos that seek to show a behind-the-scenes look at how the stores treat the pets they sell. Mr. Ortiz has amassed over 300,000 followers on TikTok and his videos have garnered millions of views.
“It’s an uphill battle,” he said. “We’re just small businesses versus some of these big national organizations that raise millions of dollars and have this marketing machine behind them. Usually people hear only of these horror stories, so I wanted to show people like what actually goes on.”
He added: “We’d completely go out of business” if Ms. Hochul signed the bill, noting that about 90 percent of the store’s sales came from selling puppies.
The bill’s supporters have argued that stores that sell animals could adapt by shifting to selling pet supplies, though the industry contends that it would require stores to invest significantly to reconfigure floor plans originally designed to house live animals.
Pet stores would be allowed to collaborate with shelters and rescue organizations to host adoption events, though they would not receive any of the fees associated with the adoptions. Mr. Bober said that all but two of the 28 pet stores that sold puppies in California went out of business two years after the ban went into effect in 2019, according to data compiled by his trade association.
State Senator Michael Gianaris, a Democrat and self-described animal lover who introduced the bill in New York, brushed aside the industry’s business concerns, saying the ban had a more fundamental objective: to stop treating animals as commodities, or as “an item on a supermarket shelf.”
“I don’t think we should sanction the torturing of animals as a means to keep people in business,” said Mr. Gianaris, the deputy majority leader and owner of a rescue cat, Alley, and a Cavapoo mixed-breed puppy, Fred, that he said he purchased from a reputable breeder. “I hope it doesn’t take the governor as long as it took the entire Legislature to figure out the right thing to do.”
Though many Republican lawmakers voted for the bill, it didn’t gain serious traction in Albany until Democrats seized full control of the State Capitol four years ago. The legislation passed the State Senate in 2020 but stalled in the Assembly.
Some moderate Democrats in the Assembly opposed the bill and proposed more targeted alternatives to regulate the pet trade, while some animal activists loudly accused Carl Heastie, the chamber’s speaker, of holding up the legislation.
That changed on the last day of the legislative session this year, when the 150-seat Assembly passed the bill, which was introduced in the lower chamber by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan, with only 15 votes against.
“The last bastion of nonpartisanship is puppies and kittens,” said Libby Post, the executive director of the New York State Animal Protection Federation, an organization representing animal shelters and rescue organizations, which support the bill.
The pet store industry has accused shelters and rescue organizations of hypocrisy, arguing that they operate with few regulations in New York, though a second bill on Ms. Hochul’s desk would aim to change that by implementing uniform standards for the veterinary care and housing of rescue animals.
Ms. Post said that banning the retail sale of the animals would ease the strain on New York’s more than 100 shelters and 400 rescue organizations, many of which she said are overflowing with dogs, including those that people obtained during the pandemic but may have abandoned after they were called back to their workplaces.
“What goes on in a puppy mill is absolutely inhumane,” Ms. Post said. “And New York is complicit in animal abuse as long as we allow the sale of milled animals.”
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